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Portugal Opens The Door To Post Mortem Insemination

Portugal has opened the door to ‘post-mortem’ insemination after the approval in Parliament of a bill that must now be sanctioned by the president, the conservative Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

The law, if sanctioned, will allow a woman to be inseminated with the genetic material of her deceased partner , provided that it is carried out in a period of between six months and three years after death, with prior consent given in life and it is shown that parenthood was an established goal.

There will be no limit to the number of insemination attempts , which may be made until the woman becomes pregnant.

The baby will be the posthumous child of the deceased, unless the mother has been paired during the process and the new couple is registered as the father. However, failure to comply with these requirements can lead to a prison sentence of up to two years.

The initiative was supported by socialists , with freedom to vote that resulted in five abstentions, the Left Bloc (BE), the Communist Party, animalists (PAN), ecologists (PEV) and Liberals (IL), although it registered five abstentions on the bench socialist. On the contrary, the ultra-right Chega, the popular and the Social Democratic Party (PSD) voted against it.

The debate on post-mortem reproduction in Portugal has been marked by the reservations of medical organizations such as the National Council of Ethics for Life Sciences (CNEVC), the National Council for Medically Assisted Procreation (CNPMA) or the Portuguese Association of Fertility.

Rita Lobo Xavier, president of CNEVC, considered that the mother’s decision may be affected by pathological mourning and underlined the real impossibility of contrasting the real will of the deceased donor.

Reserves shared by the CNPMA, which sent a document to the Assembly of the Republic with some considerations, such as the fact that there is no differentiation between sperm or embryo insemination, the lack of requirements for donor authorization or the absence of limits for the number of insemination attempts.

The Public Ministry, for its part, asked for clarification on the registration of the baby in the event that the pregnant woman married during the process.

The law must now be analyzed by the President of the Republic , who can send the text to the Constitutional Court before sanctioning or vetoing it.

Its ratification would make Portugal one of the few European countries that allow this technique , prohibited in Switzerland, Germany, Italy or France but legal in England, the Netherlands or Greece.

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