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Lesbian couple sue hospital after being 'refused IVF'

18 November 2013
Appeared in BioNews 731

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.

The women, who are in a civil partnership, say they were told by a nurse and then by a doctor at the hospital that they were not
 entitled to IVF treatment because they were in a same-sex relationship, reports the Manchester Evening News. 

The women, who are both 38, had previously tried to have a baby through a
 private donor. When this failed, they approached the hospital about
 IVF treatment.

The Central Manchester Clinical Commissioning Group's IVF policy states that fertility treatment will be provided to same-sex couples 'provided there is evidence of subfertility', defined as no live birth after up to six cycles of donor insemination.

It said that the 'assisted conception policy applies the same criteria to same-sex couples as it does to heterosexual couples'.

 The couple, who say that the delays have now made it 'almost impossible' to have a baby, intend to take legal action against St Mary's Hospital.

 One of the women told the Manchester Evening News: 'I don't feel I will be able to trust anyone in the healthcare profession again after this'.

The couple's lawyer, Geraldine O'Reilly of O'Neill Patient Solicitors LLP, explained that 'despite vital legal protections for same-sex appears that many people are still finding it difficult to access treatment because of varying policies across Trusts'.

Central Manchester Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: 'As this is an ongoing legal case we are unable to comment further at this time'.

IVF Assisted Conception Policy (.doc)
Central Manchester Clinical Commissioning Group |  1 November 2012
Lesbian couple 'refused IVF' take legal action
Daily Telegraph |  14 November 2013
Lesbian couple to sue NHS after hospital ‘refuses them IVF’
Manchester Evening News |  14 November 2013
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