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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
15 November 2021 - by Dr Ara Schorscher-Petcu 
A female same-sex couple is taking legal action over NHS IVF funding policies which they claim discriminate against LGBT+ families...
15 August 2016 - by Ryan Ross 
Three same-sex female couples are suing the US state of New Jersey for what they claim are discriminatory rules regarding the funding of fertility treatment...
12 May 2014 - by Jessica Ware 
A French court has ruled that a woman may not adopt a child her partner conceived using fertility treatment abroad. The decision has sparked outrage from equal rights activists...
25 February 2013 - by Michelle Downes 
Women over the age of 40, same-sex couples, and people with disabilities have been addressed for the first time in the updated NICE guideline on fertility treatment...
28 May 2012 - by Dr Greg Ball 
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published a draft updated guideline on fertility that would see same-sex couples and women aged up to 42 eligible for fertility treatment on the NHS...
4 April 2011 - by Kyrillos Georgiadis 
Britain's first 'gay-only' fertility centre has opened in Birmingham offering to help match potential parents with sperm or egg donors and surrogates....
5 October 2009 - by Nisha Satkunarajah 
A lesbian couple has won a landmark case against a Californian clinic, where doctors allegedly cited their religious beliefs as grounds to refuse the couple IVF treatment....
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