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Male couple expecting baby after NHS IVF

11 May 2020
Appeared in BioNews 1046

The first male same-sex couple to receive IVF on the NHS has announced they are expecting a baby son via surrogate this summer.

Ross and Chris Muller from Edinburgh are believed to be the first male couple to create a family using IVF through the NHS after a blanket ban on NHS-funding for fertility treatment in surrogate pregnancies was lifted by the Scottish Government in 2018. 

'I think a lot of same-sex couples, male and female, don't know that this exists,' Ross told the Daily Record

IVF is available to qualifying same-sex couples on the same basis as heterosexual couples, but in many areas the NHS does not fund fertility treatment involving a surrogate, meaning that gay men are effectively excluded.

'After we contacted the NHS, they initially said they wouldn't look at us because we were a male same-sex couple' said Ross. 

The couple contacted their MP and following his intervention, the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary agreed to treat them. 

'We had to keep pushing on that door and it was new to the hospital so they hadn't done this before. That's when they told us that we would be the first in Scotland to go through this,' said Ross.

The couple found their own surrogate in England. Eight embryos were created from donated eggs and Ross's sperm, with one transferred into the surrogate last November, resulting in the pregnancy.

Scotland has the most generous provision of IVF in the UK, with qualifying couples entitled to three funded IVF cycles. This compares with two in Wales and one in Northern Ireland. Provision varies in England: in some areas IVF is not routinely available to infertile couples.

Chris hopes that sharing their experience will encourage other LGBTQ families to investigate their fertility treatment options:

'A lot has changed since what we went through – the forms don't say 'mother and father', they say 'parent A and B' – it's little things like that. I think it will be a lot easier for people to go down this path if they want to.'

SOURCES & REFERENCES
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