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From medically assisted to designer procreation

Publié le : 9 September 2013

 On 27 July 2013, a Family Affairs judge in Nantes granted "visiting rights to the biological father of a lesbian couple’s child. The father, who was the friend of both women, had acted as the informal sperm donor". Seven months after the birth, the young man "finally met the child, much to the annoyance of the two mothers […] who contemplated bringing up the child without paternal involvement". 
In response to this news and general statements on MAP (medically assisted procreation) to be delivered by the Comité consultatif national d’éthique (French National Consultative Ethics Committee) in early 2014, Dominique Le Lannou, Head of the Centre d’étude et de conservation des oeufs et du sperme humains (Cecos) (Centre for the Study and Preservation of Human Eggs and Sperm) in Rennes, pointed out that informal sperm donation is on the increase and is "impossible to measure" given its subterfuge nature. No controls can be implemented from a medical perspective. Furthermore, donors do not always have blood tests, especially HIV screening – hence recipients may become infected. For some time now, "heterosexual females with partners experiencing fertility problems", have become involved in such practices, "disillusioned by legal methods after several failures and discouraged by the waiting times at the cecos […] – twelve months on average". "Informal" sperm donation "involves injecting the sperm of the donor, who may be a friend or an Internet acquaintance, into the uterus either naturally or using a syringe". As far as Dominique Le Lannou is concerned, "all these women are taking incredible risks to become mothers without any medical control".            
Sperm donation is, however, regulated in France and must satisfy three criteria: "sperm must be donated voluntarily, free of charge and anonymously" under penalty of a two-year prison sentence and a fine of 30 000 Euros.

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