Two women are taking legal action against St. Mary’s Hospital in Manchester, England after claiming they were denied fertility treatment because they are a lesbian couple.
The couple claims both a nurse and doctor separately told the women they were ineligible for the treatment because they were in a same-sex relationship.
“Both health care professionals explicitly stated that we would be denied treatment by the NHS because of our sexuality,” one of the women said.
Now after a failed private sperm donor insemination and IVF difficulties, the couple, both 38 years old, fear time is running out. They say that because of all these delays, it will be “almost impossible” for them to have a baby.
According to the guidelines made in 2011 by the Central Manchester Clinical Commissioning Group, same-sex couples are eligible for fertility treatments.
“We feel a mixture of anger, sadness and frustration at what we’ve been through,” the other partner said. “I don’t feel I will be able to trust anyone in the health care profession again after this.”
When the couple complained to the hospital, they had a meeting and received an apology.
“Despite vital legal protections for same-sex couples, it appears that many people are still finding it difficult to access treatment because of varying policies across trusts,” Geraldine O’Reilly, the couple’s lawyer, said.
A spokesman for the Central Manchester Clinical Commissioning Group said that if a couple meet the criteria for IVF, then it doesn’t matter if they’re heterosexual or homosexual.
“We would be happy to discuss this matter with the couple in question if they wish to contact us directly,” he said.
Central Manchester Hospitals NHS Trust declined to comment.