The French parliament on Tuesday passed its bioethics bill to give all women aged under 43, including those who are single and lesbians, access to assisted reproductive technology such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Until now, the technology was restricted to heterosexual couples where one of the partners was infertile or risked passing a disease on to their child. Single women and lesbian couples often traveled to Spain, Belgium or Denmark, where the procedures were allowed, to have children.
The new legislation also loosens the rules on egg and sperm freezing, previously only allowed for donation purposes or for medical reasons.
The bill, passed with 326 MPs in favor and 115 against after its fourth and final reading, enacts an election promise from President Emmanuel Macron. It was passed after 468 hours of debate over two years, according to a tally by Libération.
Bastien Lachaud, an MP from the leftwing France Unbowed, said it was a “bitter-tasting victory” because of “all this time lost, families who waited in vain, dashed hopes, all these children so ardently desired who weren’t brought to life.”
Conservative MPs almost all voted against it. Patrick Hetzel, from Les Républicains, said the bill impaired “fundamental human rights and the protection of human beings.”
The bill will also lift anonymity for gamete donors. Upon turning 18, those born of gamete donation will be able to request the identity of the donor.
The bill will also allow sexually active gay men to donate blood — previously, they had to remain abstinent for four months prior to doing so. It also refines the scope of stem cell research. “Modifying a human embryo with cells from other species is forbidden,” the text reads, but the opposite will be allowed.
Content created by Jules Darmanin
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