A survey conducted by women’s magazine ‘Opzij’ showed that single women are refused IVF treatment at 19 out of the 39 Dutch hospitals they researched, indicating discrimination. They are often told to go somewhere else with better facilities like a sperm bank or with counselling to avoid telling them flat out they won’t treat single women. The hospitals’ moral view is often that ‘a child should have two parents’, but it is illegal to refuse someone based on their single ‘lifestyle’. On the other hand, a history of abuse or addiction is a good reason to refuse treatment to someone.
Frank Broekmans of the Dutch association of gynaecologists and obstetrician says hospitals that refuse to perform IVF are not acting unlawfully because enough hospitals can cater to single women and it’s not necessary medical attention. He also believes a child is not well-served by having only one parent, but again, that’s discrimination even if it is a widely-held belief.
Bart Fauser of the UMC Utrecht hospital, the same hospital where Broekmans works and the most friendly towards single women looking for IVF treatment, says that there is no scientific proof that children of a single parent have a worse time of it. Once Fauser tried to screen a couple before an IVF treatment and he was heavily criticised, leading him to believe that couples always seem to have the right to decide what’s best for them, but not single women.
All I know is that Belgium has more IVF clinics, and like for many procedures including childbirth (if I can continue to believe the people around me), Dutch residents cross the border to get treated without the hassles they experience in the Netherlands.
(Links: www.volkskrant.nl, www.opzij.nl)
Tags: discrimination, hospitals, IVF, single women, women
City governments are pressuring single mothers to reveal the name of the fathers of their children, so that they can then force said fathers into paying some sort of alimony, Dutchnews reported last Friday.
Apparently a man from Rotterdam, Eric van Deurzen, was ordered by a court to pay either the city or the mother 486 euro a month. (If I am being vague it’s because my sources are.) Volkskrant quotes two law professors, Paul Vlaardingerbroek and André Nuytinck, as saying that only the mother can bring suit.
Professor Nuytinck told Gelderlander that this also puts certain kinds of sperm donors in a tough situation: “Sperm donors who haven’t gone through a sperm bank may have difficulty proving that they did not conceive the child. For conception [as a legal term–Branko] there needs to have been intercourse.”
Since everybody is being so incredibly vague I had to do my own homework here.
Title 17 of Book 1 of the Dutch Civil Code (Burgerlijk Wetboek) states that “he who conceives a child that only has a mother […] is obliged to contribute to the cost of rearing and caring for the child until it reaches the age of majority […].” Although the law does differentiate between a father, a conceiver (verwekker) and a donor, it does not state that there is a difference between a donor and a conceiver when it comes to financial responsibility for raising a child.
Several websites and professor Nuytinck do make that distinction though, which leads me to believe that there must be a separate, more specific law detailing the rights and responsibilities of sperm donors somewhere. Not all the cost of artificial insemination are covered by basic health insurance and in 2010, a lesbian couple was refused treatment by a hospital in Leiden.
The law I quoted above seems to have especially dire consequences for gay couples. The partner who is not the parent only has rights if they’ve gone through official, sometimes homophobic channels and the donor has expressed the wish to remain pseudo-anonymous (in the Netherlands a child always has the right to know its father once it turns 16).
It is still not clear to me why a municipal government would have standing in a case where they ask for the determination of fatherhood.
(Photo by Gniliep, some rights reserved)
Tags: children, conception, fathers, gay parents, gay rights, human rights, IVF, legal standing, mothers, parenthood, parenting, single mothers, sperm, sperm donors
Can’t conceive? Couples will soon be able to knock on the door of the Medisch Centrum Kinderwens in Leiderdorp, South Holland to adopt an embryo. Two couples have already agreed to give up their frozen embryos, left over from IVF attempts. According to director and gynaecologist Marinus Crooij, his clinic is the first in the Netherlands to offer this type of adoption. A woman simply becomes the surrogate of her adoptive child.
Giving away embryos in the Netherlands is not forbidden, but does not happen very often. The Embryo Act says donors may not remain anonymous and their details must be registered with the Stichting Donorregistratie, the Dutch donor registry. “When a child is 16, they have the right to know who their ‘genetic’ parents are. Not everyone agrees with this”, explains Crooij. In Great Britain and the US this type of adoption is already common place. “If you accept adoption, you have to accept this as well. It is comparable. Moreover, these children are wanted from the very start, which is not the case with ordinary adoption.”
Tags: adoption, embryo, IVF