Lesbian couples can now have a Spanish holiday package that includes a marriage ceremony and insemination treatment.
The package is offered by the lesbian and gay travel agency Rainbow Travel, in collaboration with the Instituto Bernabeu fertility clinic.
Following the 2005 ruling that sperm donations in Britain may no longer be made anonymously, an increasing number of gay women choose to receive treatment in fertility clinics in Europe, where the change in the law does not apply.
Although Spain introduced same-sex marriage four years ago, couples seeking fertility treatment in Spain do not need to be already married. This has led Spain to be considered one of Europe’s most liberal destinations.
“As long as you are in control of your mental faculties, then you can do it,” says Dr Rafael Bernabeu, the founder of the fertility institute.
Bernabeu said that more than 30 British women visited his clinic last month, despite the sizeable cost of the treatment. Prices for egg implantations in Spanish clinics start at about £6,000 and can cost up to £10,000, while donor insemination starts at £1,000.
“Two women travelling to Spain so that they can have a baby are doing something that is very special to them,” said María José Rico, of Rainbow Travel.
“We want to make the experience as pleasurable as possible. The treatment does not require you to rest a lot, so we want to offer people things to do and places to stay that will make it a real holiday as well,” she said.
Rico added: “Alicante is very cosmopolitan. We live in the 21st century and nobody finds it strange to see two women here with a child. “In fact if people want to come back here to celebrate the child’s birthdays, we’d be happy to arrange that as well.”
Rainbow also offers to help lesbian couples who want to marry in Spain. “First of all we help them bear a child and then we can help them marry – as long as they meet the legal requirements,” she said. “That makes them feel psychologically more like a family.”
However, marriages enacted in Spain are only valid in countries that accept same sex marriage. If both women are foreigners, one must be legally recognised as a resident in the country, although this is not considered difficult to achieve.