Families come in all shapes and sizes, but the diversity of family relationships isn’t easily agreed by the society or by the law (or both). Sometimes, even the strongest desire of having children is not enough if you are unmarried, at least not in Czech Republizch, where assisted reproduction for single women is currently not allowed.
Treatment in a centre for assisted reproduction is, according to the Czech legislation, a “couple therapy”. Therefore, the presence of both partners, who are of opposite genders, is required (both partners do not have to be present at every step of the treatment). A heterosexual couple, married or not, may apply for assisted reproduction. Due to the legislation, it is not possible for single women or homosexual couples to apply for this kind of service.
In 2016, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Michaela Marksová, came up with a proposal to make assisted reproduction treatment available to single women. “As far as we know many of the hospitals are carrying out In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) anyway, but not legally. I think that in the context of the Czech Republic, where the demography is really low, we should help every woman who wants to have a child “, said the ministry to Czech Radio at the time of the proposal.
However, Czech lawmakers rejected the proposed amendment to the law that would have finally enabled unmarried women to undergo artificial fertilization using the sperm of an anonymous donor. The majority of Czech Lowe House gave the proposal the thumbs down: only 40 out of 153 members of parliament present voted in its favour.
One of the most vocal opponents of the proposal , Jitka Chalánková of the centre-right TOP 09 party, said that “the right to have a child did not rank among the basic human rights” in an interview to Czech Radio. “Primarily we should be thinking about the rights of the child, because a child’s right to know who its parents are is one of the fundamental human rights. We need to consider the fate of children who are born out of these circumstances.”, added Mrs. Chalánková.
The denial of the proposal turns Czech Republic odd in the matter of reproductive rights if compared to many European countries, such as Denmark, Belgium or the UK, which have already made IVF available for unmarried women. This decision also seems unaligned to Czech contemporary family configurations , as interest in artificial fertilization grows every year and there are currently over 40 assisted reproduction clinics operating in the country, according to the Prague Fertility Center.