For couples who seek the joy of raising a child, but struggle to conceive, medically assisted reproduction is nothing short of a miracle. Although these medical services cost an arm and a leg in most countries, if you are fortunate enough to live in France, fertility treatments are free—but only if you are an infertile heterosexual couple.
Despite France legalizing same-sex marriage back in 2013, artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization (IVF) were not available to lesbian and gay couples or single women—that is, until last Tuesday, when France’s lower house of parliament voted to increase the reproductive rights of the LGBTQ community.
The final vote on the wide-ranging bioethics law was presented by French President Emmanuel Macron’s government. The result, which was 326 votes in favor and 115 against, was a long-awaited victory for LGBTQ rights groups in the country. Advocates have been pushing for the equal right to create a family since same-sex marriage was legalized under then-President Francois Hollande.
For parliament, the vote marks the end of an exhausting two-year debate. The conservative majority in the Senate had rejected the measure on multiple occasions, but Macron’s centrist party had the final say as they had a majority in the lower house of parliament.
Government spokesman Gabriel Attal relayed the President’s sentiments about the vote, saying that it is a “major achievement” that demonstrates “that society was ready to take this step towards more equality.”
According to Health Minister Olivier Veran, French authorities are striving to implement the new law as quickly as possible so that couples and single people who will benefit from it could conceive before the end of the year.