Tuesday, 21st September 2021
Although advancements in reproductive technology in the UK mean it is easier than ever before for LGBTQ+ people to become parents, a new survey by Fertility Help Hub has found that 93% of this community feel society does not extend equal rights to them when it comes to building a family. Further research found that nearly half (49%) of LGBTQ+ people said that the financial cost of having to go privately has meant that they have had to make the heart-breaking decision not to pursue their dream of starting a family.
As fertility treatment in the UK is in backlog, for those people in the LGBTQ+ community these anxieties are made worse by not only the postcode lottery for assisted reproduction treatment, but the relative lack of representation for parents who aren’t heterosexual.
Currently in the UK if you’re in a heterosexual partnership, you have to try to conceive for two to three years before potentially getting NHS funding for IVF. Some CCG’s (Clinical Commissioning Group) require LGBTQ+ couples and single women to have at least six rounds of intrauterine insemination (IUI) or donor insemination (DI) through a private fertility clinic before potentially receiving NHS funding for one round of IVF. With IVF costing on average for each round, £6,000.
Further to this the survey found that nearly half (49%) of LGBTQ+ people said that the financial cost of having to go privately has meant that they have had to make the heart-breaking decision not to pursue their dream of starting a family. Yet heterosexual couples are only required to try to conceive for two years before they can seek treatment on the NHS.
Laura-Rose Thorogood, Founder of The LGBT Mummies Tribe, adds:
“It is a human right to be able to have the family you dream of by your chosen route, yet so many women & people within our LGBTQ+ community have their options limited to them, when it comes to creating a family. This results in many never having children, going down an alternative path to parenthood or going down a route where they and their future child are not protected legally or genetically. Personally, as a married couple, we have been lucky enough to have two children of our own through fertility treatment (and a third due in June), but for many whom we support through The LGBT Mummies Tribe globally, this dream is unattainable. We ourselves have spent in excess of £40,000 privately to create our family, with our third child being created during the pandemic after multiple cycles (due to secondary infertility).”
Married same sex couple Whitney and Megan Bacon said “It’s our dream and our right to have a family just as much as anyone else. We were shocked when we found out that LGBTQ+ people have to privately pay for six rounds of IUI in expensive fertility clinics, whereas there is no financial burden or evidence required from heterosexual couples. We believe that sexual orientation should not be a barrier to creating a family.”
LGBTQ+ men in England are not able to access any fertility treatment at all via reproductive medicine such as embryo creation in advance of surrogacy treatment. Michael Johnson-Ellis, father of two via UK Surrogacy and founder of TwoDadsUK® and My Surrogacy Journey®, says: “With UK gestational surrogacy for two men costing around £20k – £25k (inc. donor eggs) plus additional UK surrogate expenses to consider (which vary around £10k-£15k per pregnancy), it means gestational surrogacy costs around £30k – £40k. This is a figure clearly out of reach for many.”
Founder of Fertility Help Hub (FHH), Eloise Edington, launched the site following her own personal fertility struggle after her husband was diagnosed with Klinefelter Syndrome (something that affects approximately 1 in 660 men) which made him infertile. The site aims to guide, support and connect the fertility community during their journey to parenthood and demystify the complexities that arise along the way.
Eloise Edington says:
“Our survey’s has indicated an unfairness felt by over 500 people. Voicing these frustrations is about helping raise awareness of the fertility battles felt by so many in the LGBTQ+ community who are trying to conceive. Fertility Help Hub’s aim is to support everyone on their fertility journey, no matter what their gender or sexual orientation.”
ABOUT FERTILITY HELP HUB
Launched in 2019, Fertility Help Hub is the leading lifestyle fertility platform, which reaches hundreds of thousands of people around the world who are at different stages of their fertility journeys and are looking for community support, virtual events and expert content / resources. It provides expert insight, conception resources, inspiring real-life stories, health and wellbeing information.
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