Blow for German women over 40

March 3, 2009 12:00 am

, KASSEL, March 3 – German women over 40 have no right to state funding for fertility treatment because of the low chances of success and an increased risk of miscarriage, a German court ruled on Tuesday.

Since 2004, state health insurance firms have refunded only half of the costs for treatment — which run to thousands of euros (dollars) — and for three attempts.

A woman gets no funding if she is over 40 and if the would-be father is over 50. Since 2004, there has been a sharp drop in couples trying to conceive artificially, daily Die Welt reported last month.

Tuesday’s court ruling by the appeals court on social affairs followed a legal challenge by a 41-year-old woman from Hamburg, who said she may take her case to the federal appeals court.

Over 100,000 children have been born in Germany in the last 30 years via in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other methods, and experts say that 15 percent of childless couples want kids, according to Die Welt.

Europe’s most populous country, like many industrialised nations, is grappling with an ageing population with a falling number of working people supporting with their taxes a rising number of retirees.

Family Minister Ursula von der Leyen, a mother of seven, has introduced a raft of measures aimed at lifting Germany’s traditionally low birth rate such as increased benefits for stay-at-home parents and more kindergartens.

Tuesday’s court ruling is also at odds with von der Leyen’s latest idea — increasing state funding for couples wanting fertility treatment.


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