Single women and lesbians in Scotland may soon find it easier to have children using donor sperm. Scotland’s government has proposed to eliminate the “father clause” from the in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment application, making IVF more accessible to women without male partners.
In the past, the National Health Service for Scotland required IVF clinics to consider the “child’s need for a father” before a woman was approved for treatment. Under the new plan, the child’s welfare will still be considered before treatment is approved, but the question of the involvement of a male parenting figure will not be asked. “If there is a clinical need for fertility treatment, then the provision of NHS treatment should be considered, regardless of the patient’s sexual orientation,” UK public health minister Caroline Flint said, The Scotsman reports.
The new IVF plan, which also includes a formal ban on sex selection of embryos for non-medical reasons and a ban on the creation of human-animal hybrid embryos, will be debated in parliament. MP Evan Harris campaigned against the father clause, calling it “unjustifiable, discriminatory and vindictive,” according to The Scotsman.