Poland to legalize in-vitro fertilization?

ivfPoland’s parliament has passed a bill that, if adopted, would set out the conditions for offering in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment. This is a key issue on which the government led by Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz wants to deliver in order to attract liberal voters before elections in October.

IVF treatment has been available in Poland for 25 years, but in a legal grey zone. So far the country has not passed any legislation regulating it, remaining the only European Union member not to have done so.

In-vitro fertilization divorces sex from procreation and typically results in the creation of “surplus” embryos that are subsequently either frozen for an indeterminate period of time, or deliberately destroyed.

The ruling center-right Civic Platform party, in power since 2007, has tried before to set up a legal framework allowing IVF, but failed because of opposition within its own ranks. Those dissenters have, however, in the meantime been either silenced or evicted, so that last week Civic Platform lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favor of the bill, with only five out of 197 lawmakers opposing it, and two abstaining.

“The in vitro bill is a great success of Polish freedom,” Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz said after the vote, revealing her own rather immature understanding of “freedom”

The bill approved on Thursday would make IVF available to married and unmarried couples.

All of the main opposition party Law and Justice’s lawmakers opposed the bill. The socially conservative party, led by former prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, is currently leading in polls, supported by around 30 percent of the voters. Poland’s new President designate, Andrzej Duda, is also known to be an opponent of the bill, having criticised it very outspokenly during his electoral campaign. But Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz apparently hopes to rush the bill through Parliament so that it can still be signed into law  by sitting President Bronisław Komorowski, who is a member of Civic Platform,  shortly before he leaves office in early August.