14-10-2016

“Post-mortem” reproduction at issue


A debate between Barrister Gilbert Collard and Alliance VITA’s study director Blanche Streb

On October 13, the Administrative Court in Toulouse France gave a negative verdict on a new case of post-mortem insemination thus upholding the ban. The public rapporteur’s conclusions were presented during Thursday September 29th session. The court confirmed the Medical Center’s opinion by refusing the claimant’s request. The sperm samples of her deceased husband, currently frozen at the Study Center for Ovum and Sperm in Toulouse, should no longer be stored.

The Toulouse Administrative Court’s decision appears to reaffirm the principle of prohibiting post-mortem insemination in this country.

However, in another case the same week, the Rennes court ruled for the first time to give a young French woman the right to export her deceased husband’s frozen sperm in order to have an insemination abroad.

Post-mortem insemination or post-mortem in-vitro fertilization, (meaning after the father’s death), by using his frozen gametes, is a controversial practice and has been prohibited in France since the first French bioethics law was passed in 1994. The French Public Health Code specifies that Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) is only intended for couples with a medically confirmed pathological infertility. The law specifies that the man and woman forming the couple must be alive, of reproductive age and must have given prior consent for the transfer of embryos or for insemination.

On May 31, 2016, France’s highest legal authority the Council of State judged a similar case involving a young Spanish widow. The verdict provoked quite a controversial stir since it overrode the statutory law, by agreeing to the export of her late husband’s sperm.

Blanche Streb, Alliance VITA’s study director, and Barrister Gilbert Collard, who pleaded a similar case, debated this issue on Radio Sud on Thursday October 14.

[Click here for the Podcast]