“It’s a historic moment”: at the Lille University Hospital, first consultations with the new PMA candidates

By Solène Cordier

Posted today at 03:01

“Have you ever had sex?” “ Jennifer and Anissa exchange a look. “Uh yes … well, that is to say? “, answers the first, a little taken aback. “I mean, with vaginal penetration, because if you do inseminations, after placing a speculum, you pass the sperm into the uterus, with the help of a small catheter. It’s not painful, but here it goes… Are you comfortable with that? “, continues, somehow, Doctor Christine Decanter, head of the medically assisted procreation service at the Jeanne-de-Flandre hospital of the university hospital (CHU) of Lille.

This December morning, in the company of her intern Philippine Gruchala, she inaugurated the first medically assisted procreation consultations (MAP) open to female couples and single women in the establishment. Faced with the large number of calls received since the vote on the bioethics law on August 2, opening access to assisted reproduction to all women, the Lille University Hospital has decided to offer additional consultation slots at the end of 2021. “Afterwards, they will be in our usual circuit, but there, with the influx of requests, we made this choice to respond as quickly as possible”, explains the energetic head of service with bright blue eyes. Sixty-five couples of women and forty-five single women were to be received in this way in a month. During this first day, which we were able to attend, twelve consultations took place.

“It shakes up our practices a bit”

At the Jeanne-de-Flandre hospital at the Lille University Hospital, morning consultations are provided by Doctor Christine Decanter and her intern Philippine Gruchala, on December 8, 2021.

“It’s a historic moment”, says Dr. Decanter with a smile, welcoming her first two patients of the morning. “We waited impatiently for this”, answers Anissa, 33, shaking hands with her partner. For about twenty minutes, the couple discusses with the doctors the results of the medical examinations of Jennifer, 27 years old – it is she who will bear their first child, they decided – as well as on the modalities surrounding their approach: the role the sperm donor, administrative questions … “Can she carry my egg?” “, asks Anissa. “For now, the law does not allow it. In principle, the patient who will carry the child will do so with her own eggs ”, answers Dr Decanter.

Read also PMA for all: what does the bioethics law change in the procedure?

As soon as the door is closed, she turns to her intern for a quick debriefing. “It looks like they are having an interview, they are quite stressed”, notes Dr Gruchala. “For them, it is a capital moment”, recognizes his colleague. She shakes her head. “I was awkward when I asked the question about intercourse. How can I do ? It’s not easy to ask “have you ever been penetrated?”. Maybe I can say “have you ever had penetrative sex?” “ So put to the next couple, the question does not raise any embarrassment.

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“It’s a historic moment”: at the Lille University Hospital, first consultations with the new PMA candidates