Reproduction and Fertility is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal
Page URL:

French ethics body backs IVF for single and lesbian women

1 October 2018
Appeared in BioNews 969

France's national consultative committee on bioethics (CCNE) has said that single women and gay women should be able to access IVF and other assisted reproductive technologies. Currently these treatments are available only to heterosexual couples in France.

The committee released its report to inform Government policy as France prepares to review its laws on assisted reproduction. 

'Access to a technique that is already allowed [for other groups of women] does not cause any harm to the people involved,' the document stated. 

It added that fertility treatment 'should be available to all women' regardless of relationship status or sexual orientation. The committee reasoned that being unable to have children constituted a real 'hardship' for individuals. 

The committee also guardedly supported allowing women to freeze their eggs to extend their fertility, a technique that is currently only used for egg donors in France. However, while it said the practice should be permitted, it added that it would not 'encourage' egg freezing. The committee advised maintaining the country's ban on surrogacy.

A recent study by the polling and market research firm IFOP suggested that 60 percent of French people supported broadening access to include single women and lesbian couples, compared with just 24 percent in support in 1990. However, La Manif Pour Tous (Protest for Everyone) group, which protested against the legalisation of gay marriage, has dismissed the ethics committee's report as 'political rather [than] ethical', France 24 reported

In the run up to his election, President Emmanuel Macron made a campaign promise to make reproductive technologies available to gay and single women. However, a statement from the Elysée palace was noncommittal. 

'We are not bound by this opinion,' the Elysée palace told Reuters. 'The debate on assisted reproductive technologies is an ethical one and it is not over.'

French bioethics body backs assisted reproduction for all women
France 24 |  25 September 2018
French ethics committee backs IVF for gay, single women
Politico |  25 September 2018
L'Elysée désamorce sur la PMA avant l'avis du comité d'éthique
Reuters |  24 September 2018
17 June 2019 - by Dr Yvonne Collins 
France plans to lift a ban preventing single women and lesbian couples from accessing IVF and other fertility treatments, announced Prime Minister Édouard Philippe last week...
4 February 2019 - by Jen Willows 
A male same-sex couple in Scotland hopes to be the first to create their family using IVF on the NHS...
8 October 2018 - by Jen Willows 
Malta's Embryo Protection (Amendment) Act, which came into effect on 1 October, has widened access to IVF and legalised gamete donation and embryo freezing.
19 February 2018 - by Catherine Rongieres 
The first law on Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) was passed in France in 1994 as part of the so-called 'bioethics legislation', which followed other European countries' legislation, such as the UK's 1990 Human Fertilisation and Embryology act. France's law which placed much tighter constraints on individuals access to ARTs than the UK...
27 November 2017 - by Daniel Bodri, Nick Macklon and Kamal Ahuja 
In 2008, parliament voted to scrap the controversial 'need for a father' requirement from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act; a consideration for 'supportive parenting' took its place. Alongside legislation giving rights to civil partnership (2004) and to marriage (2014) to same-sex couples, this provided the basis for a sudden surge in fertility treatment options for single and lesbian women...
to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.