France has played a large part in the development of new reproductive technologies (NRTs). Two French teams took part in the pioneering meeting at Bournhall in 1983, along with one English, one U.S., and two Australian teams. There are approximately 150 NRT centers in France. They make approximately 40,000 in vitro fertilization (IVF) attempts per year. Most of the centers participate in the national registry FIVNAT (which in French stands for IVF National). In 1996, the national pregnancy rate per transfer was 26 percent and per cycle, 20.5 percent.
Since July 29, 1994, France has adopted the Loi de bioéthique covering NRTS. The law covers insemination with husband or with donor semen, IVF (including ICSI), embryo research, and antenatal (prenatal) diagnosis. With the exception of insemination, NRTs may be performed only in licensed centers under the responsibility of a recognized practitioner. Licensing is granted for five years by the Ministry of Health after notification from the National Committee of Reproduction Medicine, Biology, and Antenatal Diagnosis. This committee is composed of practitioners proposed by their representative organizations, experts, lawyers, and representatives of relevant administrative and professional bodies and family associations. All accredited infertility clinics are required to present an annual report of activities to the minister of health.
NRTs are intended to remedy medical infertility. Both partners seeking this service must be alive (some surviving spouses may hold the stored gametes of their deceased spouse), of reproductive age, and married or able to prove cohabitation of two years. They must give written consent after receiving precise counseling. Single mothers and homosexual couples are