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Spain's lesbians locked out of fertility treatments

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Spain's lesbians locked out of fertility treatments
Gay groups in Spain plan to protest new rules excluding lesbians from public access to treatments like IVF. Photo: Quinn Dombrowski
09:51 CEST+02:00
The Spanish government on Tuesday approved a move which will prevent single women and lesbians in Spain from accessing publicly funded fertility treatments.

Only couples made up of a man and a woman with one sterile partner will be able to access assisted reproductive technologies via Spain's public hospitals after a decision by Spanish health ministry.

The move came out of a meeting on Tuesday where Spain's Health Ministry negotiated with the country's autonomous regions as to which health services should be publicly funded.

The inclusion of the new sterility clause for reproductive technologies was rejected by Andalusia, the Basque Country, the Canary Islands and Asturias, Spain's El Mundo newspaper reported on Thursday.

But this was not enough to block the change.

The new rules also impose an age cap on people accessing fertility treatments such as artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization through Spain's public health system.

Only women aged 40 or under and men aged 55 or less will eligible.

A total of three treatment cycles will be offered through the public system.

The move will see single women and lesbians having to pay an average of around €1,000 ($1,300) for artificial insemination in the private sector, Spain's El País newspaper reported on Wednesday.

For in vitro fertilization, that cost is around €7,500.

Spain's largest provider of such treatments, the Instituto Valenciano de Infertilidad performed 3,648 artificial insemination treatments in 2012, according to El País.

A total of 19 percent of those treatments involved single women.

Speaking about the move, Spain's health minister Ana Mato said, "Any woman who is having problems in terms of having a child, as assessed by a doctor will have access to publicly funded assisted reproduction".

She added she didn't think "the lack of a man was a medical problem".

Spain's peak body for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals FELGTB plans to appeal the new rules, the group announced on Tuesday.

Around 15 percent of heterosexual Spanish couples are thought to have fertility problems.

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