IVF legalised for lesbians and single women in France

IVF legalised for lesbians and single women in France
Approved by the National Assembly by a substantial majority, the vote marks the end of a protracted, two-year political battle in parliament

France’s parliament has passed a law allowing single women and lesbians access to medically assisted reproduction treatment for the first time.

Introduced by Emmanuel Macron’s government, the law was hailed as “long-awaited progress” by LGBTQ+ campaigners – who had pushed for the measure ever since France legalised same-sex marriage in 2013.

It will expand access to fertility treatments such as artificial insemination and in vitro fertilisation (IVF), which has been reserved only for infertile heterosexual couples.

Armel Balogog, a journalist who describes herself as bisexual and in a relationship with another woman, welcomed the new bioethics law.

“Let me tell you how much it means for me to live in a country where I can legally have a child with the woman I love,” she tweeted after the vote.

Ms Balogog said only regrets that transgender people were “forgotten” by the law. The legislation did not meet campaigners demands that transgender women be allowed to donate sperm for use in fertility procedures before their gender reassignment.

Health minister Olivier Veran said French authorities are getting ready to apply the new law as quickly as possible, so that the first children could be conceived by the end of the year.

In France, all fertility treatments are free, and this would now also include lesbian couples and single women.

Approved by the National Assembly in a 326-115 vote, the vote marks the end of a protracted, two-year political battle in parliament.

The conservative majority in the Senate repeatedly rejected the measure, but the lower house of parliament, where Mr Macron’s centrist party has a majority, had the final say.

French LGBTQ+ rights groups lobbied for the measure after France legalised same-sex marriage under then-president Francois Hollande, following months of mass protests by conservative and Catholic groups.

“Finally,” Matthieu Gatipon, spokesperson of the Inter-LGBT association said, welcoming “long-awaited progress” on the expansion of IVF.

“We are satisfied that this is getting done … but this has been a painful birth,” he said, expressing frustration that it took so long to get to the final vote of the law.

Emmanuel Macron’s government introduced the legislation

Mr Gatipon said it has been hard on French women who had to delay for years their plans to have a baby, and others who had to pay expensive fees to go abroad to countries where such procedures are available, such as Spain and Belgium.

Magali Champetier told France’s La Dépêche newspaper that she and her partner went to Spain to conceive two children, saying the law will come as a “relief” to make lesbian couples.

“I had to get married and wait a year before I could become the child’s legal parent. This [law] will remove that stress, and moreover the procedure will be free, unlike the treatment abroad.”

Additional reporting by agencies


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