Strict fertility treatment bans in Europe draw criticism

Maria Cheng
AP/USA Today

LONDON (AP) — More than three decades after Britain produced the world’s first test-tube baby, Europe is a patchwork of restrictions for people who need help having a child.

Many countries have strict rules on who is allowed to get fertility treatments. And recent court rulings suggest nothing’s likely to change anytime soon.

France and Italy forbid single women and lesbian couples from using artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization, or IVF, to conceive. Austria and Italy are among those banning all egg and sperm donations for IVF. Germany and Norway ban donating eggs, but not sperm.

Countries including Sweden require couples to have a stable relationship for at least a year to qualify for fertility treatment. Switzerland, among others, requires couples to be married.

And nearly everywhere in Europe except Ukraine, couples are banned from hiring a woman to carry a pregnancy for them.

“These laws are completely out of date,” said Dr. Francoise Shenfield, a fertility expert at University College London.

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