French Senate approves bill authorizing IVF for single women and lesbians


PARIS (Reuters) – The French Senate voted on Wednesday in favor of a bill that would allow single women and lesbian couples to access in vitro fertilization (IVF), the first major social reform in President Emmanuel’s tenure Macron.

FILE PHOTO: A medical technician selects eggs for an in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) at the CECOS reproductive biology laboratory at Tenon Hospital in Paris, France September 19, 2019 . REUTERS / Benoit Tessier

The bill passed 160-116 in the Senate, where Macron’s centrist party is outnumbered by right-wing Republicans.

The bill is part of a larger bioethics law, which in October got its first reading in the National Assembly, the lower house where Macron’s party holds a majority.

The law would untie some of Western Europe’s strictest rules governing medically assisted pregnancies, a campaign pledge from Macron.

The senators, however, rejected an article approved by the lower house, which would have allowed the reimbursement of IVF by French social security.

Under the law in force in France, IVF is only accessible to heterosexual couples, and only for reasons of infertility or risk of transmission of a disease or a medical problem to the child or to one of the parents.

Medically assisted reproduction – such as IVF – is widely available to all women in countries like Great Britain, Belgium and Spain. But in France, it has fueled a wider debate on the commercialization of health care and gay rights.

“What was recognized for heterosexual couples must be recognized for homosexual couples,” said Socialist Party Senator David Assouline.

The legalization of same-sex marriage in France six years ago sparked massive street protests as the influence of the Catholic Church was believed to be waning.

A sign that France has become more socially liberal, polls show that a majority of French people support the reform of bioethics.

Some opponents of the bioethics bill fear it paves the way for the legalization of surrogacy – where a surrogate mother has a sperm and egg implanted or becomes pregnant using her own egg – the popularity of which is rising in popularity. boom in the world, especially among LGBT + couples who want to become parents.

Last weekend, 41,000 people marched peacefully through Paris to oppose the bill.

Conservative Party The Republicans Senator Pascale Bories said she regretted that Macron “did not have the courage to hold a referendum on this issue because the debates transcend political parties”.

Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau; Written by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Geert De Clercq and Lisa Shumaker

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