Belgian lawmakers are reportedly inching closer to extending the country's right-to-die law to minors.
In 2002 Belgium became the second country in the world, after its neighbour the Netherlands, to legalise euthanasia for people older than 18.
A Senate committee is now at work in Brussels to find political consensus over proposed changes to the bill to grant the same right to minors in some cases.
"The idea is to update the law to take better account of dramatic situations and extremely harrowing cases we must find a response to," Socialist party leader Thierry Giet told AFP shortly after his party proposed the reform in December.
Political debate is now focusing on the conditions under which minors would be allowed to end their lives.
According to Belgian newspaper Demorgen, socialists and liberals would prefer not to establish any age limit, leaving doctors the responsibility to decide case-by-case whether a child is mature enough to decide for him or herself, and if his health conditions are grave enough to approve the assisted death.
Some Catholic parties are ready to back the reform, but only if it is limited to teenagers older than 15, while others simply oppose the legislation.
The Senate's Committee on Social Affairs is also discussing whether to allow euthanasia for patients suffering from Alzheimer's and other diseases that lead to decision impairment.
Demorgen reported the law is likely to be approved before the end of the summer, making Belgium the first country in the world to legalise euthanasia for minors.
Some 1,100 instances of euthanasia were recorded in Belgium in 2011.