France: French bioethics body backs assisted reproduction for all women

France’s highest bioethics body, the National Consultative Ethics Committee (CCNE), ruled on Tuesday that access to medically assisted reproduction should be expanded to include single women and lesbian couples.

Equal access to medically assisted reproduction has been a hot-button issue in France ever since the country legalised same-sex marriage and adoption in 2013. Under the current law, technologies such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and artificial insemination are restricted to heterosexual couples and surrogacy is illegal.

Single women and lesbian couples who want to freeze their eggs or undergo other forms of fertility treatment are often forced to seek medical assistance in nearby countries such as Spain and Belgium, which have less restrictive laws. Such trips are often prohibitively expensive and don’t always end in success.

But all this could soon change. The government of French President Emmanuel Macron, who campaigned partly on the promise to legalise medically assisted reproduction for all women, is expected to present a bill to parliament by the end of the year.

In its report the CCNE recommended, but said it "does not encourage", freezing eggs "as a precaution for all women who so desire, after seeking a medical opinion (the only restrictions being minimal and maximum age)”.  Read more via France24