Thank you for contacting me about access to NHS fertility treatment for same-sex couples.

I share your concerns on this important issue. The availability of fertility services varies widely across the country, with provision an effective “postcode lottery”. While national guidelines exist, final decisions on funding for fertility treatment rest with local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). As a result, the CCG criteria for funding and eligibility may be stricter than national guidelines.

A British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) report finds that female same-sex couples are disproportionately impacted by policies which require them to self-finance costly and less effective artificial insemination – in some cases for at least two years – before becoming eligible for NHS funded treatment. I agree with BPAS and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists that these financial barriers – which can amount to £25,000 – are completely unacceptable.

A Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) review into IVF equality concluded in 2021. The results of this internal review are expected to inform future policy, with Ministers confirming they will set out their aims in the forthcoming Women’s Health Strategy, due to be published this spring.

The DHSC also confirmed that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) – which is responsible for making recommendations about who should have access to IVF treatment on the NHS in England – is reviewing its guidelines. This review will consider the current access criteria to treatment for same-sex couples.

Sexual orientation should not be a barrier to accessing fertility treatment on the NHS. I urge the Government to end unequal access to IVF treatment for LGBTQ+ people. I will monitor developments in this area closely and bear in mind the points you have raised.

Thank you once again for contacting me about this important issue.

'Government Equalities Office'
Link to Instagram Link to Twitter Link to YouTube Link to Facebook Link to LinkedIn Link to Snapchat Close Fax Website Location Phone Email Calendar Building Search