According to non-profit organisation 'Birth House Luxembourg', there is a demand for a private birth centre here in Luxembourg, a project already supported by the Minister of Health. However, a legal framework is yet to be drafted.

After Laurence Streitz from Beckerich became pregnant with her second child, she eventually decided on delivering the baby at home this time. She only took a definitive decision on the matter in July since a number of criteria have to be fulfilled ahead of a home birth. As there is no doctor present, the baby must not be delivered before the 37th week of the pregnancy, both mother and child have to be healthy, it must be a single child, and it has to be in the head-down position.

Women can already rely on the assistance of midwives earlier in the pregnancy. In the case of a home birth, it is usually a midwife that helps deliver the baby.

Up until February this year, the costs of home births were not reimbursed, and even the new 'out-of-hospital tariff' does not cover everything. According to international standards, two midwives have to be present during a home birth. However, only one is being reimbursed.

Since only a small faction of women choose home births, the topic can still be met with scepticism, says Streitz: "Some relatives find it a bit strange. My mother is a bit more anxious and concerned, but reactions are very different. ... There are surely some who say 'I couldn't do it, I would need the safety of doctors, of a hospital, of science'. And I can also understand that, but I think it is something that deserves reliance on one's own intuition."

Danièle Haag has been a midwife for over 25 years and also helps carry out home births. For her, this means having to be reachable at all times, three weeks ahead of the due date and two weeks afterwards. Since the beginning of September, Haag has also offered to deliver babies in her office, the 'Lunata Centre'.

She elaborated: "From the very beginning, we said that our way to a woman must not last longer than half an hour. Similar for the way to a maternity ward. That is not the case everywhere in Luxembourg, which is why it quickly became clear that we would probably open an office close to a maternity ward, somewhere central."

At the end of September, the first baby was born in the Lunata Centre, only the 20th child in Luxembourg this year to be born outside of a hospital.

The office is not only meant to serve as a location for births, but also as a place for pregnancy consultation. That is why the Centre works closely with a physical therapist and plans on offering baby message classes.

Following the entry into application of the out-of-hospital tariff in February, the non-profit organisation Birth House Luxembourg was founded. Members see a clear demand for a private birth centre and therefore advocate for a legal frame to be drafted.

Thus far, the non-profit has had two meetings with a variety of involved parties. Despite initial scepticism, Minister of Health Paulette Lenert has given positive feedback. A joint vision for a Luxembourgish birth centre thus exists, the remaining hurdles are the location and financing of the project.

Although a new out-of-hospital tariff has come into force, some of the associated rates are not yet clear: for the second midwife, for on-call duty, and for the operating costs of the private centre.

Sheila Schmit, spokesperson for the non-profit, explains that they are still waiting for a response from the National Health Fund (CNS): "We would hope for a quick decision from the CNS. ... That would mean less financial risk for us. We also have hopes that the Ministry of Health offers to subsidise and support us."

The majority of this RTL report was made in September, but the Lunata Centre and the legality of it became a topic of discussion in the Chamber of Deputies in October. The Health Directorate is currently evaluating the situation and refrains from commenting until further notice.