Funding for LGBTQIA+ fertility support

Spain has extended public health-funded fertility treatment to LGBTQIA+ families, says Amy Jepson

Amy Jepson
Amy Jepson is a team co-ordinator for East Sussex Children’s Therapy Service employed by Kent community NHS Trust

How much does it cost to have a baby? No, not the costs of the pram and the cot and the nappies. The cost of actually falling pregnant.

For some of the LGBTQIA+ community, conceiving a child can cost thousands of pounds. There is a CCG postcode lottery of NHS-funded support in England for fertility issues.

Recently, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) investigated this issue across England.

It found:

  • Over a quarter of CCGs (29%) will not fund the cost of donor sperm to be used in IVF treatments
  • The majority (76%) require a minimum of three self-funded artificial insemination cycles and frequently up to 12 cycles, which can cost as much as £1,600 per cycle – almost £20,000 in total for 12 cycles
  • Over half (57%) will then fund just one cycle of IVF, less than 20% will fund three rounds, and in some areas no care is provided at all.

Unfortunately, me and my husband sit in that first group of CCGs. We’re not a same-sex couple but, as my husband is transgender, we require the use of donor sperm – and this is why we’re not considered eligible for funded support.

We started trying to conceive in 2018, with three unsuccessful IUI (intrauterine insemination) attempts, but were extremely lucky to have one gorgeous two-year-old boy from our first round of IVF. 

We are now back on the emotional and financial rollercoaster of fertility treatment once more, and the cost to date is over £17,000. We are fortunate enough that we have the means to fund the creation of our family this way, but feel extremely frustrated for those who can’t.

Why should there be such disproportionate barriers for LGBTQIA+ people to start families in this way? 

Spain has recently extended the availability of public health-funded fertility treatment for their LGBTQIA+ families. They said; let no one doubt that expanding reproductive rights is expanding human rights’. I think it’s time that England did the same.

In England

  • 29% of CCGs will not fund the cost of donor sperm to be used in IVF treatments.
  • The majority of CCGs in England require a minimum of three self-funded artificial insemination cycles, costing as much as £1600 per cycle.

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