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Fertility clinic aimed at gay couples opens in UK

04 April 2011

By Kyrillos Georgiadis

Appeared in BioNews 602

Britain's first 'gay-only' fertility centre has opened in Birmingham offering to help match potential parents with sperm or egg donors and surrogates.

Natalie Drew and Ashling Phillips, a lesbian couple who have two children by a sperm donor, decided to set up The Gay Family Web Fertility Centre designed to cater for gay people after their own experiences in trying to start a family. Drew said: 'One lady we spoke to was having trouble conceiving, but she was told that she wasn't eligible for treatment because she hadn't had sex with a man within the last ten years'.

Drew and Phillips said they had encountered problems when trying to conceive their two children, Gianna and Kai. Drew said she was made to feel alienated when staff addressed Phillips, who was carrying Kai, as the mother rather than including both of them.

'Most of the GPs will try to be progressive, but they will refer to the person carrying the child and not the partner, which makes them feel excluded', Drew said. She added: 'A lot of the criteria is outdated and hasn't moved with the times'. The pair said that currently there are inadequate resources for gay couples because most fertility centres focus on heterosexual couples.

The couple had originally started the service online, but after a surge in demand they decided to set up a centre with a nurse to carry out blood tests and a counsellor to give support until the birth.

The project has been criticised by Christian groups. Mike Judge of the Christian Institute said: 'Kids need a mum and a dad, a male and female role model. This is denying that'. He added: 'This clinic is more to do with the desires of adults rather than the best interests of children'.

A Home Office spokesperson said although in law the service cannot discriminate against somebody on the basis of their sexual orientation it may market itself as a same-sex fertility clinic. 'However, if a straight couple were to approach them for help, they would not be able to refuse to serve them', it stated.

Fertility Centre | 04/2011
Lesbian couple's £9.99 a month fertility clinic is country's first aimed only at same-sex couples
Anglican Mainstream - an information resource | 23 March 2011
Daily Mail | 23 March 2011


18 November 2013 - by Cait McDonagh 
Two women claim to have been refused IVF treatment on the NHS at St Mary's Hospital in Manchester on the basis of their sexuality...
05 November 2012 - by Cait McDonagh 
The Academic Research Partnership (ARP) has bought a majority stake in the Glasgow Centre for Reproductive Medicine (GCRM), reportedly creating the UK's largest provider of NHS and private IVF services...
19 December 2011 - by Ayesha Ahmad 
Lesbian parents in South Australia who conceive through IVF can now both be registered on their child's birth certificate, after a new law passed to recognise female, same-sex couples as the co-parents of babies came into effect....

14 February 2011 - by Natalie Gamble and Louisa Ghevaert 
Surrogacy has been around for many years and disputes rarely arise. There have only been a handful of published cases in the English courts where a surrogacy arrangement has gone wrong. However, the recently published case of TT (a Minor) (1) received national press and radio coverage, focusing on Mr Justice Baker's warning about the inherent risks of surrogacy, awarding care of the baby to the surrogate mother and yet again putting surrogacy in the media spotlight...
07 February 2011 - by Ben Jones 
An Australian gay couple who entered into a paid surrogacy arrangement has won a legal battle to acquire full paternity rights for the non-genetic father....
07 February 2011 - by Dr Julie McCandless 
While most of us were trying to forget the overindulgence of the festive season, the news that Elton John and David Furnish had become parents following a surrogacy arrangement hit the headlines. It was not long before a magazine had a picture of this newly formed family on the front cover. In a supermarket in Arkansas it was deemed necessary by the store manager to censor their story and a grey plastic cover-up with the words 'Family shield. To protect young Harps shoppers' (usually reserve...
10 January 2011 - by Harriet Vickers 
The UK's first centre to advise same-sex couples wanting to have children will open later this month. Tony and Barrie Drewitt-Barlow will run the British Surrogacy Centre in Essex to guide couples through the surrogacy process...
15 November 2010 - by Rosie Beauchamp 
The London Women's Clinic (LWC) has reportedly received an application for fertility treatment by two gay men wanting to raise a child who wish to use one of the couple's sister as a surrogate....

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