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France: National Ethics Committee in favour of assisted procreation for lesbian couples and single women

France is in favour of lesbian couples and single women being allowed access to medically assisted procreation. This morning at 11am, the National Consultative Ethics Committee (CCNE) gave its positive opinion for the extension of medically assisted procreation (MAP) to those lesbian couples and single women who wish to give birth without a male partner. The opinion of the Ethics Committee was long overdue. This is a “purely advisory” opinion whose publication, however, paves the way for the evolution of the legislation on this very matter. Even the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, in a letter to the LGBT community during his electoral campaign, had expressed his support to a law that would allow lesbian couples and single women to access MAP; he said, however, that he would wait for the advice of the Ethics Committee to get the “greatest possible consensus” on future legislation. According to the Committee, “this request for medically assisted procreation, that is, artificial insemination by donor (AID), to procreate without a male partner, outside of any chronic infertility, is to be seen as a demand for freedom and equality in accessing the (medical) techniques to satisfy the desire to have a child”. The members of the Committee, however, were not unanimous in their advice. Two-thirds were in favour whilst one-third were against. Indeed, the Committee itself in its opinion underlined several “critical points” such as the consequences for the child, the risk of a commoditisation, and the very feasibility of the proposal. In its opinion, the Committee also expressed its views – although in a more prudent way – on the self-preservation of oocytes. Indeed, unlike the Academy for Medicine, which had expressed its support in an opinion published on 19 June, the Ethics Committee warned against the “very binding character of the procedure”.

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