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Sweden Will Now Grant Single Women Medically Assisted Pregnancies

05/21/2015 05:15 EDT | Updated 05/21/2015 05:59 EDT

Sweden said Thursday it wants to give single women access to assisted reproductive technologies, following in the footsteps of several other Western nations.

"We want to lift the ban on single women from our current law on medically assisted reproduction," Health Minister Gabriel Wikstrom told reporters.

"Current legislation is based on an outdated view (of families), which says you need two people to raise a child," Justice Minister Morgan Johansson said.

"We know that's not true, and that in fact it never was."

When the new law comes into effect -- likely in April 2016 -- single women will be just as entitled as couples to access the country's heavily subsidised assisted reproduction programmes in the public health sector.

"The rules will not be any more difficult," Johansson said.

Children born through assisted reproduction will have the right to know the sperm donor's identity, as stipulated by the current law for couples.

Single women are already allowed to receive this type of medical assistance in several countries including Belgium, Spain, Denmark, Britain, Australia and the United States.

The authorities believe some 800 Swedish women travel abroad each year to receive reproductive assistance.

Sweden's politicians back the plan, with the exception of the extreme right-wing and the Christian Democrats.

The government believes some 1,500 to 2,000 women would likely seek treatment within a few years of the new law's passing.

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