In decision adopted April 17, 2019, the French Council of State ruled that men over age 59 will not be able to resort to gamete donations for in vitro fertilization.
No age limit is set by French law for men to have recourse to ART. However, Article L. 2141-2 of the Public Health Code stipulates that: “the couple must be formed of a living man and woman, who are of childbearing age, and they must give their consent before embryo transfer or insemination.” French national health insurance reimburses ART for women up to the age of 43.
In March 2018, the French Biomedicine Agency solicited the Versailles Administrative Court of Appeal to rule on petitions for ART filed by two couples with men respectively aged 68 and 69 years old. The Court had then assessed the age limit for men to have recourse to ART at “approximately 59″.
The Administrative Court of Appeal in Versailles had concluded that “the unborn child must be protected from being exposed to some risks inherent to ART” and that women should also be protected “from the harrowing experience of ovarian stimulation techniques which are not without risk”.
In June 2017, a 69-year-old French man requested to have his frozen gametes returned to him to have ART performed in Belgium. The Biomedicine Agency was then forced to accept transferring his gametes.
Some recent research studies have reported that the father’s age is also a risk factor for late-age pregnancies. The French Council of State points out that: “The percentage of birth defects and the risk of genetic diseases have been shown to increase with the age of the father”.
The age limit for becoming parents via ART is due to be included in the current revision of French bioethics law.