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French lesbians head to Belgium to dodge ART ban at home

French lesbian couples are heading to Belgium to sidestep their country’s domestic ban on assisted reproductive technology.

Since July 2007, Belgian law has made ART open to all, regardless of sexual orientation.

More than 2,000 French babies are conceived in such a way each year.

Euronews met one couple who hail from a Parisian suburb. They were in Brussels for their first appointment at the renowned Erasmus clinic.

“We’ve been talking about it for more than a year and we found this hospital on the internet,” said one of the women, who asked not to be identified. “We first called in June – you’re only allowed to call twice a year – and we booked this first appointment in December.”

This fertility clinic has become a victim of its own success. Its top doctor, Professor Anne Delbaere, said it limits the number of foreign patients seeking ART treatment there.

“It’s been nearly 10 years since we started limiting the number of patients who want to travel from France due to the amount of sperm donations,” said Delbaere.

“We work with our own sperm bank and we are limited by the number of donors. It is unique to this clinic.”

The first step on the long road to this couple’s dream of parenthood is a meeting with a psychologist. The aim of the interview is to find out whether they are really ready to raise a child.

Psychologist Chantal Laurelle meets the two women, who are both in their 30s. “The goal is not to find flaws in the people who come to me,” she explained. “But rather to reflect together on specific issues that will inevitably arise in one context or another during the child’s life.”

As they leave the meeting, the Parisian couple euronews met are acutely aware of the huge responsibility ahead of them.

“I’m relieved; I think the interview was not too bad. We tried to be honest and I think the psychologist gave us some tips if we manage to have a child,” said the woman who plans to undergo the treatment.

Her partner said: “If the law in France is passed, I will be allowed to adopt the child and become a legal co-parent so I can be there for him or her. I will raise this child with lots of love.”

Read also: France divided over gay marriage

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