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Huge financial burden lifted for LGBTQIA+ people in new government health strategy
Explainer

Huge financial burden lifted for LGBTQIA+ people in new government health strategy

Jamie Wareham
Jamie Wareham
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TL;DR: The government's new women's health strategy has recommended removing an unfair financial burden that saw same-sex couples paying thousands of pounds before getting IVF treatment on the NHS, which straight people got without financial barriers.

The government has published its first-ever Women's Health Strategy for England to "tackle the gender health gap." It also contains crucial promises to same-sex couples, trans and non-binary folk around IVF Equality.

On top of every complicated hurdle involved in IVF, same-sex LGBTQIA+ parents have been told they need to pay for treatment by NHS England for years. Yes, thatโ€™s treatment they wouldnโ€™t need to pay for if they were straight.

But under new guidelines, that's going to change. It's a huge victory for LGBTQIA+ health equality in the UK.

What's changing?

An unfair burden long placed on LGBTQIA+ families and single women is being dropped. Currently they have to 'prove they are infertile' to get help.

Queers everywhere know that no matter how hard we try we're just not set up to do that in the same way straight people do.

That's why clinical commissioning groups - the people at each NHS trust who decide what treatments should get money - required female same-sex couples and single women to self-fund 6 to 12 rounds of artificial insemination in a private fertility clinic.

That comes at a cost of ยฃ1500-3000 per round. But the new guidance will mean they no longer need to fund this privately.

The background?

The move follows multiple grassroots actions, petitions and campaigns from high-profile same-sex couples and the charity Stonewall.

QueerAF members Whitney and Megan Bacon-Evans have launched a landmark legal test case to argue the NHS fertility sector in England has been discriminating against LGBTQIA+ families.

Speaking to QueerAF, they said they were "delighted" by the new strategy:

โ€œSince launching our legal challenge we have heard from same-sex couples about the expensive and time-consuming hoops they have had to jump through to access fertility treatment. We hope that this new strategy will level the playing field and achieve fertility equality for all and will be implemented swiftly to ensure that more loving families will be able to begin their journeys into parenthood."
Whitney and Megan Bacon Evans, influencers @WhatWeganDidNext

Their case remains ongoing, but they hope the NHS trust they're taking to court will follow the governmentโ€™s lead and "end its discrimination policy."

Elsewhere Nancy Kelly, CEO of Stonewall, said this was "a giant step towards a world where LGBTQIA+ people have the same opportunity as everyone else to build a loving, thriving family of their own."


Jamie Wareham, he/him, gay queer disabled - A note from me:

Some of the media is helping those with anti-LGBTQIA+ views double down on forcing ย 'trans wedge issues' into prominence.

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