Would-be parents should have access to free fertility treatment
regardless of their sexual orientation, says the National Institute
for Clinical Excellence.
If the guidelines become policy it will be the first time that
same-sex couples have been given official access to fertility
treatment on the NHS.
The proposal to allow same-sex couples fetility treatment even if
they do not have diagnosed infertility issues would iron out the
current inconsistency that makes access to fertility treatment a
"post-code lottery" in the UK. At present, couples are subject to
the funding decisions of local Primary Care Trusts, so treatment
available in one area might be denied to a couple living just a few
The new guidelines suggest that lesbian couples who do not become
pregnant after six cycles of treatment with donor semen should be
referred for further investigations and possible IVF. Gay men could
bring a surrogate mother who would carry their baby for them.
The guidelines were drawn up with equality legislation in mind,
The proposal, which is part of a raft of measures that would
regularise access for women up to the age of 42, people with
disabilities and people with HIV, was welcomed by Stonewall.
However, faith groups have spoken out against the inclusion of
same-sex couples. "The NHS does not have enough money to go round,"
Josephine Quintavalle of Comment on Reproductive Ethics told Sky
News. "It's one thing to treat people with genuine fertility
problems. But just because someone's sexual persuasion does not
allow them to have children does not mean that we have to kowtow to