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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 March, 2005, 15:24 GMT
Sweden to allow IVF for lesbians
Lesbian couples will no longer need to go abroad for IVF treatment
Swedish legislators are due to amend a law which would legalise fertilisation treatment for lesbian couples.

The new provision, which is expected to pass easily before coming into force in July, will be available to lesbian couples joined in civil partnerships.

After the child is born, both women would be regarded as its mother.

Currently, artificial insemination is only available to heterosexual partners, requiring lesbian couples to go abroad for treatment.

"The basis for the bill is that lesbian couples will be on an equal footing with heterosexual couples when it comes to assisted fertilisation," the government said.

Liberal approach

Sweden has a liberal attitude towards homosexuals, although gay marriages remain illegal.

However, civil unions were introduced in Sweden for gays and lesbians in 1994 and adoption by gay couples is permitted.

"It means that lesbian couples are now accepted in the Swedish health care system on the same level as heterosexual couples," said Soeren Andersson, president of the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay and Transgender Rights.

"The big thing now is that the government has removed the rule that lesbian couples are not allowed to have in vitro fertilisation."

Under the present legislation, the state-run health system can only offer IVF treatment to women married to a man or living with a male partner.

European countries where assisted fertilisation is available to lesbian couples include Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland, Great Britain, Russia, Ireland and Spain.

In Italy, stringent legislation restricting IVF treatment to heterosexual couples, introduced in March 2004, is due to be relaxed.

Italy bans donor sperm and eggs
11 Dec 03 |  Europe

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