Windsor lesbian couple launch legal case over IVF policy at Frimley CCG

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

adrianw@baylismedia.co.uk

A lesbian couple from Windsor have called out what they perceive to be a discriminatory system regarding IVF for same-sex couples.

Megan and Whitney Bacon-Evans have brought a legal case against Frimley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) regarding its IVF policy, saying it contravenes the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). CCGs differ in their requirements for IVF eligibility.

For an opposite-sex couple who cannot conceive without medical assistance, Frimley’s policy says that they can prove they are infertile by failing to conceive after reporting regular unprotected sex for two years.

By contrast, female same-sex couples must self-fund 12 cycles of intra-uterine insemination – as opposed to home insemination.

Six of these must be in a medical setting, costing up to around £26,000.

The couple argue that this clearly amounts to less favourable treatment.

“By only providing fertility treatment to couples who are ‘medically infertile’, our local CCG policy fails to recognise that female same-sex couples are ‘de facto infertile,’” they wrote on their fundraising page for legal costs.

The couple’s representatives said the Frimley CCG policy also requires ‘discuss(ing) the possibility of the other partner
becoming pregnant before proceeding to interventions.’

This, they said, means that even if Megan completed the required number of cycles, there may be grounds to refuse IVF on the basis that Whitney did not also demonstrate infertility.

In a statement, the couple, who run a popular YouTube series about their relationship said: “After 12 years of being together, we were excited to start our family together.

“However we were shocked to discover discrimination in place. We presumed that as we are legally a married couple, as a family we would also be viewed as equal in the eyes of the law but that appears to sadly not be the case.

“It is time for discrimination to end and for there to be equal treatment with heterosexual couples in the healthcare system.

“If our case is successful, this could positively impact the lives of tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of LGBTQ+ people embarking on their path to parenthood now and in the future.”

Anna Dews, solicitor from law firm Leigh Day which is representing the couple, added: “Our clients believe that Frimley CCG’s policy is blatantly discriminatory on grounds of their sexual orientation and puts them at a huge financial disadvantage by treating them less favourably than heterosexual couples in a comparable situation.”

A spokesman for the CCG said:“The fertility services we provide are based on NICE guidance. While we can’t comment on individual cases we will fully engage with any legal proceedings.”

The couple had raised just under £5,000 at the time of going to press. To view their campaign, visit www.crowdjustice
.com/case/lgbt-fertility-equality

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