A lesbian couple in Sweden have reported their county council to the Swedish Equality Ombudsman after they were forced to pay 3,000 kronor (£289) for two inseminations, when heterosexual couples are treated free of charge.

The couple, from County Östergötland, said to Norrköpings Tidningar, their local paper: “Looking back we have felt pretty sad over the fact that it looks like we are not seen as important as other couples.”

The women say the doctor who treated them was both ignorant and tactless, calling one of them the “father-to-be”.

Insemination, they said, was actually free for lesbian women in the neighbouring county.

However, Maria Morell of the county council expressed little surprise, saying; “We’ve been reported before. We’re often vilified for having high fees.”

Despite this criticism, Ms Morell said she didn’t think there was enough reason to overhaul the county’s policy on insemination for lesbian women.

She said: “We have identified what we think should be paid for by taxpayers’ money. We think that there should be a medical reason for infertility for the council to pay for treatment and homosexuality is not counted as a disease.

“It stands to reason that it would be strange if we paid for the insemination of a fertile lesbian woman, it would be like saying she is sick.”

She added that if a medical examination showed that a lesbian woman was suffering infertility difficulties, the situation would be different.

“Then she would be treated as any other woman experiencing fertility problems,” said Ms Morell.a