French doctors called to order regarding “procreative tourism”

Publié le : 12 February 2013

 In a circular dated 14 January 2013, the Ministry of Health has called to order the gynaecologists and obstetricians who pass on information about foreign clinics or institutions to French couples wishing to benefit from medically assisted procreation. At the origin of this circular is "the large growth in ‘procreative tourism’." Jean-Yves Grall, Director-General for Health in the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Health, points out that "the situation is getting worse with the increasingly offensive prospecting by foreign clinics and institutions.

Confronted by long waiting times, some couples do not hesitate to turn to foreign establishments, such as clinics in Spain or in Belgium. According to the General Inspectorate of Social Affairs (IGAS), "between 1,800 and 3,600 French women had recourse to donated oocytes abroad in 2009." However, these practices are not with risks.         
In its circular, "the Ministry of Health reminds gynaecologists that they risk up to ‘five years imprisonment and a fine of €75,000’ if they direct their patients towards a foreign establishment whose practices regarding oocyte donations do not comply with the French legislation on MAP" [medically assisted procreation]. In effect, "doctors are responsible for putting their patients in contact with the foreign clinic or institution whose practices [regarding oocyte donations] do not comply with the French legislation and hence they are knowingly abetting a breach of French law.

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