24 July 2023
The Guardian has reported that “a married lesbian couple who launched a landmark legal test case against the NHS have claimed a “victory for equality” after their local health service group agreed to change its fertility treatment rules for same-sex couples.”
Katherine O’Brien, spokesperson for BPAS, said:
“We are absolutely delighted that the CCG has finally agreed to amend their policy. This is a testament to the work of Whitney and Megan Bacon-Evans, and we applaud their tenacity. However, individuals shouldn’t be required to mount legal challenges in order to access equitable healthcare.
Fertility services are crucial in supporting the development of different family structures, but across the country local boards impose restrictions which amount to a tax on LGBT+ families. An investigation into NHS-funded fertility care by BPAS in 2021 found that the majority (76%) of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) require same-sex female couples to self-fund a minimum of 3 self-funded AI cycles and frequently up to 12 cycles, which can cost as much as £1,600 per cycle, or almost £20,000 in total. The impact of these policies can be truly devastating. One same-sex couple told us that their experience of trying to access NHS-funded fertility treatment caused them to feel, for the first time in their life, a "deep sadness at being gay.” The need for reform is urgent and overdue.”
For further information, please contact Katherine O’Brien, BPAS Associate Director of Campaigns and Communications, on katherine.o’firstname.lastname@example.org or 07881 265276.
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service, BPAS, is a charity that sees over 100,000 women a year for reproductive healthcare services including pregnancy counselling, abortion care, miscarriage management and contraception at clinics across Great Britain.
BPAS exists to further women’s reproductive choices. We believe all women should have the right to make their own decisions in and around pregnancy, from the contraception they use to avoid pregnancy right the way through to how they decide to feed their newborn baby, with access to evidence-based information to underpin their choices and high-quality services and support to exercise them.
BPAS also runs the Centre for Reproductive Research and Communication, CRRC. Through rigorous multidisciplinary research and impactful communication, the CRRC aims to inform policy, practice, and public discourse. You can find out more here.