Earlier this month Argentina joined the list of countries that subsidize in vitro fertilization (IVF) for its citizens. Overwhelmingly passed by the Chamber of Deputies and previously approved by the Senate, IVF is now available to heterosexual couples, single women, and gay couples, whose unions are legal thanks to the passage of the first gay marriage law in Latin America in 2010. President Cristina Kirchner summarized this development as "more rights, more inclusion, better country."
The law's basic tenet is that every adult, regardless of marital status, sexual orientation, gender expression, or economic situation, has a right to reproduce. Now Argentina, like the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Israel, and the province of Quebec, is committed to providing IVF as a matter of universal health care and services.
Its new IVF law is predicated on non-discrimination and an acknowledgment that infertility is a medical condition deserving of treatment. Strikingly, Argentina is bucking the trend in Latin America, where there is scant medical assistance for IVF, and until overturned by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights last fall, was the hemispheric home to the only nation in the world, Costa Rica, with an outright IVF ban.
Many Argentines are proud of the IVF law, which distinguishes it, in the words of César Cigliutti, an Argentine gay rights leader, as the "country that most respects diversity in Latin America."
The law prohibits the commercialization of eggs, sperm, and other embryological or genetic material. In addition, it covers the cryopreservation of embryos and the storage of eggs and sperm for persons undergoing treatment for cancer who hope to reproduce in the future. Undoubtedly there will be demand for these services. Argentina has a robust and growing use of IVF, accounting for 25 percent of all attempted cycles in Latin America in 2009, and experts soon anticipate up to 40,000 cycles per year.2013.06.19