Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced that by the end of September the Parliament will examine the bioethics bill regulating assisted reproduction and lift the ban of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) for single women and lesbian couples.

The majority in Parliament sees the current law as outdated. It was adopted in 19994 and allows treatment using IVF, sperm and egg donation only for heterosexual married or cohabiting couples. This regulation has been widely criticized as discriminatory towards single people and homosexual couples. Many women were forced to travel to other countries to receive treatment.

The legislators had three options available to them. First, they could extend the current legislative rules to homosexual couple and single women. Second, they could create a special status for all children born via IVF using a third donor. Third, they could create a special status only for IVF-born children with the use of a donor egg. It seems that French politicians decided to go with the most liberal option.

This change was very anticipated as it was one of the Emmanuel Macron’s campaign promises. He wanted to make infertility treatment available for everyone who needs it despite their gender and marital status. The highest bioethics body in France, the National Consultative Ethics Committee, has recently supported the President’s position on this matter. They said that fertility treatment “should be available to all women regardless of their relationship status or sexual orientation”.

In Germany, Italy, Malta, Slovenia and the Czech Republic IVF is also available only for married heterosexual couples. The current changes will affect only IVF treatment, the surrogacy remains illegal in France for now.

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