France legalises ivf for lesbians and single women

Lesbian couples and single women in France have access to fertility treatments. The parliament passed a bill to do so after two years of debate. Under current French legislation, only heterosexual couples have access to medically assisted reproductive methods, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).

The law Emmanuel Macron promised in his presidential campaign was passed by 326 to 115 votes. The government expects to be able to help the first women from the end of summer.

The reform will align France with European countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain. These last two neighbouring countries are currently the top destinations for French lesbian couples and single women seeking medical help to conceive.

The new law was ratified by the Assemblรฉe nationale (House of Commons) in October 2019, but was then ceased in the Senate. The right-wing Republican Party, which has a majority in the Senate and opposed to the bill, tabled hundreds of amendments before sending the text back to the Assembly for Tuesday‘s final vote. It was therefore seen as a formality.

The law also enables children conceived with donor sperm to learn the donor’s identity when they are adults. This will end the anonymity guaranteed by donors in France so far.

Also, the law allows women over 30 years of age to freeze their ova, a procedure currently available only to women undergoing treatment for conditions that may affect their fertility, such as chemotherapy. On the other hand, the law will not legalize surrogacy, a practice that is still widely rejected in France.