After marriage equality, focus shifts on IVF for single women

Wide shot of In vitro fertilisation lab at the Ljubljana Gynecology Clinic showing a desk with various instruments.

Marriage equality having been enshrined in law based on a landmark Constitutional Court decision, efforts have now been announced to give single women access to in vitro fertilisation, a fight that has been going on for more than two decades in Slovenia.

Speaking to the press on 31 January, the day that amendments to the family code providing for marriage equality entered into force, members of the Left, a coalition party, said there were still pockets of discrimination that need to be eliminated.

The Left has petitioned the Constitutional Court to rule on the constitutionality of legislation that prevents single women from having in vitro fertilisation.

MP Matej Tašner Vatovec expects the court, which took up the petition a few weeks ago, to follow trends in the west and allow single women to freely decide on childbearing, which is a constitutionally guaranteed right.

Another Left MP, the prominent LGBT+ rights activist Tatjana Greif, said this was the next “discrimination on the statute books” that needs to be addressed.

Left leader Luka Mesec downplayed expectations saying a suitable democratic consensus would have to be achieved, but he was quick to point out that the ruling coalition provided such a consensus.

There will be talks with coalition partners as to whether “reform energy for that exists” given that “reforms are piling up this year and we do not wish to promise too much,” he said.

In vitro fertilisation for single women had been a hot-button issue in the past and had been voted down in a referendum in 2001. Since then, however, legislation has become more liberal, most notably due to last year’s marriage equality decision by the Constitutional Court.

Minister for a Solidarity-Based Future Simon Maljevac, the first openly gay minister in Slovenian history, meanwhile announced that trans rights, notably the legal recognition of gender, would be addressed as well.

While he did not go into detail, trans rights groups have long been fighting for a self-identification approach to gender change.

At present, the legal change of gender requires filling out a special form and attaching a document from a health institution certifying that the person has changed their gender.

Typically it is psychiatrists who issue such a document. A medical sex-reassignment procedure is not a prerequisite for the doctor’s notice.