Page URL:

France considers allowing IVF for single and lesbian women

17 June 2019
Appeared in BioNews 1002

France plans to lift a ban preventing single women and lesbian couples from accessing IVF and other fertility treatments, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe has announced.

Current legislation that dates back to 1994 only permits treatment using IVF, donor gametes or artificial insemination for heterosexual couples who have been married or cohabiting for at least two years. This stance has been criticised as discriminatory by equality campaigners and has resulted in women travelling to other countries to receive treatment.

'In accordance with the commitments of the President of the Republic, this bill on bioethics law authorises all women to have access to ART [assisted reproductive technologies]… the bill will be adopted by the end of July and could be debated in Parliament late September,' Philippe told the French Parliament on 12 June.

Prior to his 2017 election, President Emmanuel Macron made a campaign promise to make fertility treatments available to same-sex couples and single women. The bill was delayed several times to avoid protests by conservative campaigners but will now be considered as part of a renewed commitment to 'social justice'.

Last year, France's highest bioethics body, the National Consultative Ethics Committee, released a report supporting access to IVF and other fertility treatments for single and gay women (see BioNews 969). It said fertility treatment 'should be available to all women' regardless of relationship status or sexual orientation'.

Surrogacy is expected to remain illegal in France, as is egg freezing for social reasons. Egg freezing is currently only permitted in cases where a patient is likely to become infertile after medical treatments (such as chemotherapy), or for egg donors. 

In his announcement, Philippe said that he believed France had reached a point of being able to 'serenely, profoundly and seriously debate the issue to the exigencies of our country'. 

France's Parliament to debate IVF for single women, lesbian couples
ABC News |  13 June 2019
France to end ban on IVF for lesbian couples and single women
The Guardian |  12 June 2019
21 June 2021 - by Emma Bunting 
An investigation into NHS-funded fertility care across the UK has revealed hidden barriers for female same-sex couples...
14 June 2021 - by David O'Rourke 
Single French women and those in same-sex partnerships will be able to access IVF and other fertility treatments...
21 September 2020 - by Michelle de Souza 
Until recently, people seeking fertility treatment in the state of Victoria, Australia had to undergo criminal record and child protection checks. If a criminal record check revealed that the woman, or her partner (if applicable), had been convicted of a sexual or violent offence, or a child protection order had been made and a child had been removed from the care of the woman or her partner, a presumption against treatment was triggered...
11 May 2020 - by Emma Laycock 
The first male same-sex couple to receive IVF on the NHS has announced they are expecting a baby son via surrogate this summer...
30 September 2019 - by Sarah Gregory 
France's lower house, the National Assembly, has passed draft legislation to end discrimination over women's reproductive rights...
1 October 2018 - by Isobel Steer 
France's national consultative committee on bioethics has said that single women and gay women should be able to access IVF and other assisted reproductive technologies...
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...
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.