In a victory for single, heterosexual or lesbian women and lesbian couples in France, the country’s highest court recently ruled that there are no constitutional grounds for denying these women access to in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments and that there should be no legal barriers to IVF treatments.
IVF treatments have been available in France since 1980 and are currently free in France for eligible couples as part of the country’s standard health care coverage. However, couples today have to provide extensive evidence that they are indeed a heterosexual couple in order to qualify, by proving either that they are married to each other or that they have lived together with combined financial resources for at least two years.
France’s president Emmanuel Macron, who campaigned on an LGBT-supportive platform, promised to back legislation last year designed to give everyone access to IVF. However, because of opposition, protests, and a surprising amount of resistance, that legislation hasn’t been passed yet. While of course this recent court ruling will not automatically remove the opposition to or controversy about this issue, there are no more expected legal barriers to passing a new law giving single women and lesbian couples access to IVF to help them conceive. The French court’s ruling did not address giving same-sex male couples access to egg donation or surrogacy assistance.
LGBT advocates are pleased with this new development in France, which is expected to help many more people become parents or add to their existing families. France’s ruling comes on the heels of a similar decision in Spain, authorizing free IVF and other fertility treatments to single women and lesbian couples in that country. While we don’t live in a world yet where the LGBT community has equal rights to assisted reproduction technologies everywhere, this move brings us one step closer.
Working with an experienced, knowledgeable reproductive rights attorney is critical if you are considering growing your family via surrogacy. Your attorney will work to ensure contractual agreements not only comply with the law; they will also help ensure your rights and best interests – and those of your future child or children – are protected. Contact us today to begin your journey!