Spanish clinic and travel agency offer gay marriage and fertility deal

British lesbians are being encouraged to travel to Spain – and come back either pregnant, married or both.

The offer comes from a fertility clinic and a GLBT travel agency, which have launched joint package tours to Spain because of the country’s liberal laws.

British lesbians have been traveling to clinics in Spain for IVF treatment, which has become more difficult in Britain since sperm donors lost the right to remain anonymous in 2005.

“We noticed the increase in British women coming to us as soon as the law was changed,” said Dr Rafael Bernabeu, founder of the Instituto Bernabeu clinic in Alicante, eastern Spain. “Here we can still offer that anonymity, so people are coming to us.”

According to guardian.co.uk Bernabeu said his clinic saw 30 British women a month. About 40% of British women seeking donor insemination were single and many were lesbians. “We don’t ask questions about people’s sexuality, so I can’t give exact figures,” he said. “But often they come with same-sex partners or simply tell us that they are lesbians.”

He said that couples, gay and straight, who wanted fertility treatment were often worried about the effect on a child of knowing that they could track down their missing biological parent. “Many couples in this situation do not want problems of that kind,” he said.

The guarantee of anonymity means Spanish clinics have few problems finding sperm and egg donors, whose numbers fell dramatically in Britain after 2005 as people worried about getting a knock on the door in 18 years’ time.

Unlike some other countries in Europe, Spain does not require those wanting fertility treatment to be married. “As long as you are in control of your mental faculties, then you can do it,” said Bernabeu. “The question of your sexual orientation or whether you are married has nothing to do with it.”