South Korea : Lesbian couple welcomes a child in historic first

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South Korea : Lesbian couple welcomes a child in historic first

Kim Kyu-jin and Kim Sae-yeon have become the proud parents of their daughter Rani, marking a historic milestone for South Korea’s LGBTQ+ community.

In South Korea, a lesbian couple has celebrated the birth of their first child through IVF, setting a landmark moment for the nation’s LGBTQ+ community.

The couple, Kim Kyu-jin and Kim Sae-yeon, welcomed their daughter Rani on August 30, with Kyu-jin becoming the first openly gay Korean woman to give birth, as reported by the Korea Herald.

While South Korea has yet to legalize gay marriage and sperm banks in the country are only available to married heterosexual couples, the duo were able to get married in New York in 2019 and undergo IVF treatment in Europe.

While Kyu-jin was working in France, the country experienced a sperm donor shortage, leading the couple to choose IVF treatment in Belgium.

“I wanted to undergo IVF in France, where I was working at the time. But since France legalized fertility treatments for lesbian and single women, there was a sperm shortage. I was told I would have to wait over a year and a half. I was simply shocked,” Kim Kyu-jin told the Korea Herald.

The couple added that, since their marriage is not recognized in South Korea, Sae-yeon has no legal parental rights and is not eligible for parental leave.

Kyu-jin stated: “There are so many types of parents in Korea who are marginalized compared to the majority. Not just lesbians, but low-income parents, physically disabled parents, multicultural families, divorced families, and single parents.

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“Should all of us be prohibited from raising children? Discriminating against specific groups makes a society discriminatory as a whole.”

Kim Kyu-jin and Kim Sae-yeon expressed hopes that by sharing their story, they could demonstrate to the country how same-sex couples are “ordinary”.

“The reason why people are conservative, or even defensive against gay people, is because they aren’t seen or heard in their daily lives,” Kyu-jin told the newspaper.

“If I speak out and show the world how ordinary I am, then wouldn’t people better understand that there’s very little that separates us from them?”

She added that she hopes South Korean society will become more accepting of same-sex couples by the time their children start school.

“Korea is a rapidly evolving country. As my father told me, by that time, it will become something not so unusual for people. He mentioned that 30 years ago, people with the same last name couldn’t marry,” she added.

South Korea recognized same-sex couples for the first time in February, allowing them to benefit from the same health insurance rights as heterosexual couples.

This groundbreaking decision came after the Seoul High Court ruled that a health insurer must cover one of its client’s spouses after the company removed him upon discovering the couple was gay.

“This is a significant ruling that brings South Korea closer to marriage equality,” said Boram Jang, an East Asia researcher at Amnesty International.

“There’s still a long way to go to end discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, but this decision gives hope that prejudices can be overcome.”

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