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It is a gross misrepresentation to assert that opposite sex couples (generally) have access to artificial insemination, while same-sex couples have not. The legal situation in most EU Member States is more complex.

The decisive difference in many jurisdictions is between ‘homologous’ and ‘heterologous’ artificial procreation:  the ova and sperms that are used in the process must be those of the couple involved, whereas the use of a third person’s sperms or ova is prohibited. What legislators seek to protect with this limitation is the right of a child to grow up with its own natural parents. This is a perfectly natural and legitimate approach for a national legislator to adopt.

The approach promoted by the ILGA campaign goes in the opposite direction. Here, it is only the (lesbian) would-be parents who have rights – in this case, the “right to have their own biological children”.

In this context, it should be pointed out that the statement that artificial insemination would allow “lesbian couples to have their own biological children” is obviously wrong. In order to conceive a child in this way, a lesbian woman would have to be inseminated with the semen of a man, not with the ova of her lesbian partner. Logically, therefore, the child would not be that of the lesbian couple, but of one of the two lesbian women and of the sperm donor. Strangely enough, in the view of the authors of this poster campaign, this third person should have no rights with regard to its child, and the child should have no right to grow up with its father. Indeed, the campaign’s approach to the impartation of “rights” seems rather unbalanced: only the lesbian would-be mother should have rights, whereas the child and its (biological) father should have no rights at all.

In short, the campaign turns the child into a commodity that is to be owned by the person who orders and pays for it. (The statement that lesbian couples should have “their own” children is quite revelatory…) It is perfectly reasonable and legitimate to oppose this approach and defend that, rather than a commodity that can be purchased and “owned”, a child is a person and bearer of rights. But once again, reasonable argument is not listened to. Rather than allowing that there might be based on respectable moral concerns, opposition against this important item on ILGA’s radical agenda is dismissed as “solely motivated by lesbophobia”.

The regulation of assisted procreation is not one of the competences of the EU. From the perspective of human rights, the ECtHR (S.H. and others vs. Austria) has held that Council of Europe Member States are under no obligation to allow it.

For these reasons, it is inappropriate for the European Commission to lend support to a campaign that pretends that lesbian couples have a right to artificial insemination in order to have “their own children”. The Commission has no mandate to defend such positions.

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