Assisted Reproduction Revolution in the Czech Republic: Will Single Women Be Allowed to Have a Baby?
Few months ago, the Czech Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Michaela Marksová proposed a new law which would allow single women in the country to have a baby with the help of assisted reproduction, without a man signing his consent beforehand. If the law is adopted, then not only single women, but also lesbian couples (apparently) will become new customers of Czech assisted reproduction clinics.
For today, Czech women can undergo in vitro only if they have a partner (registered as well as unregistered one). Even “simple” artificial insemination by using of sperm donation is now unavailable for Czech women who are single.
Of course, there's a way to circumvent the law which is to find a male friend who will sign his consent for assisted reproduction treatment. After a baby is born, a mother indicates in the baby's papers that a father is unknown. According to Marksová, this is not a solution as each woman should have the legal right to make decisions on her health by her own.
The Second Attempt
These changes in law had first been suggested by the former Czech health Minister Tomáš Julínek ten years ago, but were rejected by the Government. However, as the birth rate is the country still remains low, the proposal is here again.
According to Maksová, there's also an economical reason behind the initiative. The new law will increase the number of single women coming to the Czech Republic from foreign countries in order to undertake their assisted reproduction treatment. The money they'll spend on it, will contribute to the overall Czech economy.
It's not a new model, the same law is already implemented in many countries such as Belgium, Great Britain, Denmark, and even catholic Spain.
Czech Republic is truly a special country when it comes to assisted reproduction. It has probably the largest amount of assisted reproduction clinics per capita not only in Europe, but in the whole world. In 1982, the first child was born in the country due to in vitro. At present, every 25th child in the Czech Republic is born with the help of assisted reproduction. Czech insurance companies cover the first three attempts to get pregnant by using fertility treatment for insured women who are 39 years old and younger (only treatment costs, and only for the first child).
Also, the mentality of Czechs itself positively contributes to this uniqueness as Czech people are in general not ashamed of talking about their health problems, and most of them are open to seeking for help. Also, the Czech Republic has no any controversial issues with religion (most of Czechs would describe themselves as atheists), and the “question of God” is not what can really affect the outcome of the whole thing (as it affects reproduction law, for example, in Poland).
What It Means to Foreign Clients
Assisted reproduction treatment is much cheaper in the Czech Republic than in the above mentioned countries where single women are by law already allowed to conceive with its help. “Western quality for Eastern prices”, is what foreign clients find in Czech reproduction facilities. Obviously, if the new law is implemented, the number of single women and lesbian couples coming to the Czech Republic to conceive, will grow.
The current Czech Minister of Heath Svatopluk Němeček doesn't support the Marksova's initiative. The Czech Member of the European Parliament Tomáš Zdecho even called it “a further half-baked socialistic nonsense”. What he meant by that, and how socialism is connected to reproduction, truly remains a secret.
Czech opposition politicians also criticize the initiative by saying that Marksová simply plays into the hands of the present Minister of Finance Andrej Babiš who few years ago established a fund supporting domestic clinics of IVF, EGG DONATION. Marksová objects to it by reminding that when the initiative was first discussed, Babiš didn't owe any clinics yet.
According to Marksová, this all is about helping every woman who wants to have a baby, so there's no the necessity to have a man who must legally agree with that. This definitely puts the Czech Republic in one row with other European countries where the concept of a woman who has her life in her hands, is promoted.
The only pity is that the politicians who make final decisions on law aimed at single women in the Czech Republic, are mostly all married men.