French lesbians forced to conceive in Belgium
As France braces this weekend for giant protests against gay marriage and adoption, neighbouring Belgium has become a haven for French lesbians, who flock there in their thousands to conceive babies they are denied at home.
Some 2,000 babies conceived in Belgium through artificial insemination by donor are thought to be born each year to French lesbian couples, who are not eligible to undergo the procedure in France.
“We have seen a sharp increase in demand over the past three years. The word is getting around in France, our patients are passing the message along,” said Professor Michel Dubois at the University Hospital of Liege, in the southeast of the country.
The children thus conceived even have a nickname — “Thalys babies” — after the high-speed train service between Brussels and Paris on which their mothers shuttle back and forth — sometimes for years — in their quest to become parents.
Plans by France’s Socialist government to extend marriage and adoption rights to gay couples have proven deeply divisive, igniting fierce protests from opponents including Catholic and Muslim leaders, with a new mass rally planned in Paris for Sunday.