The lower house of France’s parliament is set to approve a law that would allow single women and lesbians access to medically assisted reproduction for the first time.
PARIS – France’s lower house of parliament is set to approve a law on Tuesday that would allow single women and lesbians access to medically assisted reproduction for the first time.
The new law will expand access to fertility treatments such as artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization (IVF), which are currently reserved only for infertile heterosexual couples.
In France, fertility treatments are free – which will now include gay couples and single women.
Health Minister Olivier Veran said French officials were getting ready to introduce the new law as soon as possible, allowing the first child to be conceived by the end of the year.
The vote marks the end of a long, two-year debate in parliament. The conservative majority in the Senate repeatedly rejected the measure, but the lower house of parliament, where Macron’s centrist party holds a majority, has the final say. The National Assembly has already cleared the draft bill thrice and is on course to accept it later on Tuesday.
France’s LGBT rights groups lobbied for the measure after months of mass protests by conservative and Catholic groups legalizing same-sex marriage under then-President Francois Hollande of France.
“Finally,” said Inter-LGBT Association spokesman Matthew Gatipone, welcoming the “long-awaited progress”.
“We are satisfied that it is happening… but it has been a painful birth,” he said, expressing dismay that the legislation took so long to reach its final vote.
Gatipone said it is hard for French women who have had to delay their project for years to have a child, and others who have to pay expensive fees to travel abroad to countries like Spain and Belgium.
The new law does not address France’s ban on surrogacy arrangements in which a woman gives birth to a child for someone else.