Lesbian couple demand equal fertility treatment from NHS
Reported by Liyah Leoni
In the UK the NHS (National Health Service) is a publicly funded healthcare system. Primarily funded by the government, the NHS provides healthcare to all legal residents of the UK.
The NHS was born out of a long-held ideal that good healthcare should be available to all, regardless of wealth. At its launch by the then minister of health, Aneurin Bevan, on 5 July 1948, it had at its heart three core principles:
- That it meet the needs of everyone
- That it be free at the point of delivery
- That it be based on clinical need, not ability to pay
These three principles have guided the development of the NHS over more than half a century and remain. In 2000, a full-scale modernized programme/program was launched and new principles added.
The main aims of the additional principles are that the NHS will:
- Provide a comprehensive range of services
- Shape its services around the needs and preferences of individual patients, their families and their carers
- Respond to the different needs of different populations
- Work continuously to improve the quality of services and to minimise/minimize errors
- Support and value its staff
- Use public funds for healthcare devoted solely to NHS patients
- Work with others to ensure a seamless service for patients
- Help to keep people healthy and work to reduce health inequalities
- Respect the confidentiality of individual patients and provide open access to information about services, treatment and performance
However, in 2020 a lesbian married couple who embarked on their “fertility journey” found that these same principles of IVF Treatment did not include same sex couples or single women.
They discovered soon into their fertility journey that women under 40 in heterosexual partnership can be offered IVF on the NHS but only if they can prove they have been trying to get pregnant with unprotected sex for two years or have undergone unsuccessful fertility treatment privately. Private Fertility treatment can cost up to £30,000 and for most this up front payment is unobtainable.
Megan and Whitney, who are YouTube influencers, known as “Wegan”, have told their 50,000 followers who have been together 12 years, explained that if you are a gay or single woman in most parts of the UK you will get no or little support.
The couple have started a petition along with other couples to try and get the law changed in England.
For more on the fight for equal fertility treatment in the UK see Campaign link
And Wegan Intsa for more information (Couple page https://www.instagram.com/whatwegandidnext/?hl=en)
NHS LINK https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/trying-for-a-baby/having-a-baby-if-you-are-lgbt-plus/
Link to news video https://youtu.be/PTFifHA3WAM