Lesbians still being denied fertility treatment
A Freedom of Information Act request has found that lesbian women are still being denied fertility treatment.
According to a survey carried out by Press Association, primary care trusts appear to be turning down lesbian couples for treatment on the grounds that funding is only available for those with fertility problems.
Previously, clinics could turn down lesbians due to the “need for a father” but the law has now been changed.
Out of the 152 PCTs in England, 38 responded to the survey, along with three of Scotland’s 14 territorial health boards and the Health Commission Wales.
None said they had given any lesbian couples NHS-funded fertility treatment, although two PCTs said they were currently considering applications from two women in same-sex relationships.
Seven of those surveyed said they had rejected lesbians couples for fertility treatment.
Twenty-one PCTs said they did not keep any record of sexual orientation and so could not provide any more data.
Ruth Hunt, Stonewall’s head of policy and research, said: “If challenged the PCT could turn around and state the need for a father, so up until now we have never been able to challenge the status quo. Other PCTs have now turned around and said they will only treat infertile women.
“The NHS has not developed a structure to enable lesbians to seek treatment because it is a model for infertile heterosexual women therefore lesbians are never going to be able to benefit from the treatment they pay their taxes for.”
Hunt added: “The NHS should be recording sexual orientation so they can monitor the extent to which lesbians and gay men are taking up services.
“This is one area more than any other which the NHS would know the gender of the people seeking treatment.”