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French docs admit to illegally helping gay couples have kids

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Photo: AFP
10:02 CET+01:00
Some 130 doctors in France owned up on Friday to having helped gay couples to have children, in the hope of denouncing the "incoherence" of French law, which does not allow it.

In an open letter in Friday's edition of French daily Le Monde, the doctors wrote: “We doctors, biologists, own up to having helped, accompanied gay couples or single women in their efforts to have children, which is not possible for them in France."

They went on to demand a change in the law, allowing these groups to have IVF treatment.

Under France's current law, "medically assisted procreation" (known as PMA in France) is reserved for heterosexual couples only, while surrogacy is illegal under any circumstances. The doctors did not raise objections about the ban on surrogacy, saying that they wanted to avoid "commodification" of the body.

The group was headed by gynaecologist René Frydman, an expert in assisted reproduction who produced France's first 'test-tube baby'.

The extension of PMA to gay couples was originally included in France's 2013 marriage equality bill, but was later dropped due to the weight of the opposition against the bill.

That climb-down angered gay rights groups, who called President François Hollande a traitor.

The doctors argue that this is an inconsistency, since gay couples and single women are able to adopt children.

They are also asking that women be able to freeze their eggs for later pregnancy and donate eggs, a possibility already exists in several European countries including Spain, the UK and Belgium.

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In France, this is only allowed if the women's fertility is at risk due to medical reasons, such as having to undergo chemotherapy, and not if the woman simply wishes to have children later in life.

The doctors' manifesto has drawn comparisons in French media to the Manifesto of the 343, a declaration written by Simone de Beauvoir and signed by 343 women who admitted to having had an abortion, which contributed to the decriminalization of abortion.

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