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Government Approves Proposal for Fertility Treatment Law

The Finnish Government has approved a long-delayed bill on fertility treatment. The bill includes a controversial measure that would give single women and lesbian couples access to such treatment.

Opposing the measure in the vote were three ministers: Municipal Affairs Minister Hannes Manninen and Defence Minister Seppo Kääriäinen (both Centre) and Interior Minister Kari Rajamäki (SDP).

Last week the bill was left on the table at the request of Social Services Minister Liisa Hyssälä.

At present, Finnish fertility clinics are free to decide whom to treat and on what preconditions. Finland is the only Nordic country not to have a law on fertility treatment.

Under the proposal, treatment should be refused if having a child could be seen as a hazard to the woman’s health. However, no specific age limits were set.

The proposal also allows for the use of donated egg cells and sperm. However, surrogate births would not be allowed.

If the bill is passed by Parliament, children whose biological origin is from donated eggs or sperm would have the right to learn the identity of the donor at the age of 18. However, the biological parent would not have any legal rights or obligations as a parent.

More than 1,500 test tube babies are born in Finland each year.

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