Single women and members of the LGBTQ+ community will now be able to access IVF funded through Spain's public health care system.
Since 2013, access to state-funded fertility treatment was limited to heterosexual women who had a male partner, forcing everyone else to pay for private treatments. Many regions refused to implement that policy, and now a different party is in power it is being repealed.
Health minister Carolina Darias signed an order allowing people with a uterus to access treatment irrespective of relationship status. 'Starting today, single women, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people will have access to fertility treatments on the public healthcare system. We have restored rights that should never have been abolished,' she said.
The president of Spain's federation of LGBTQ+ rights' groups, Uge Sangil, welcomed the change: 'Let no one doubt that expanding reproductive rights is expanding human rights'.
'In recent decades, family structures have evolved in step with society, and is it very positive to see Spain moving towards providing access to assisted reproduction treatments to anyone wishing to have a child,' Dr Rita Vassena, scientific director of the Eugin Group of fertility clinics told BioNews: 'Nevertheless, in a country were the vast majority of treatments are paid out of pocket, these very important regulatory changes must be accompanied by significant improvements in budgetary allocations, or they will remain declarations of intent.'
The bill will not affect male same-sex couples or transwomen who want to become parents, as surrogacy remains illegal in Spain.
A similar bill was recently passed in France (see BioNews 1099).
Fertility policies across Europe, for patients including single people and people in non-traditional arrangements, will be discussed in two weeks' time – on Wednesday 1 December – at PET's online conference 'Reproducing Regulation: Who Regulates Fertility and How?'.
Conference sessions will include 'Fertility Across Jurisdictions: International Perspectives' and 'All Families Great and Small: Changing Family Forms'. See here for details and registration.