No more trips to Finland for lesbian couples

From July 1st gay women couples in Sweden will have the right to fertility treatment in the form of assisted or artificial insemination at Swedish hospitals.

Until now, homosexual women were forced to seek treatment abroad, usually in Denmark or Finland, because the Swedish law only allowed married women, or women who living in a heterosexual ‘sambo’ relationship to have this kind of treatment. The government proposed the change in legislation in March, and this week it was put forward to parliament who will debate the new law and decided on its implementation on June 3rd.

Assisted reproduction can either happen through insemination, or through in vitro fertilisation. According to the law, this can only be done at hospitals and university hospitals. Furthermore, a child that is born through assisted conception has the right to find out who its biological parents are.

When the new law is accepted a lesbian couple that goes through assisted fertilisation in this way will both be named as parents to the child that results from the treatment. The partner of the woman who gives birth must give permission for the treatment and parenthood will then be legally binding.

Couples that have gone through assisted conception in another way, either by themselves or in a different country, will not be considered parents in the same way according to the law. In that case it will be the biological father of the baby who is legally recognised as the other parent.

The Swedish Christian Democrat Party is the only party planning to vote against the new law. It believes that the proposal neglects the rights of the father to play a role in a child’s development. The party believes that the state shouldn’t assist in creating family constellations where the child is deprived of the right to one of its parents.

Sweden’s gay rights organisation RFSL (Riksförbundet för sexuellt likaberättigande) says in a statement that the proposal is a relief; “Lesbian and bisexual women no longer have to flee the country.”