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LGBT couple's petition to get "equal" fertility treatment

(223 Posts)
GlummyMcGlummerson Mon 16-Nov-20 11:27:26

An LGBT couple have launched a petition for gay and lesbian couples get the same rights as heterosexual couples when it comes to fertility treatment. Currently most heterosexual couples, after 2 years of being unable to conceive, would likely qualify for 2-3 rounds of IVF (depending where you live) on the NHS. This LGBT couple think it's discrimination that they don't get the same right.

My lesbian friend has asked me to sign it.

I'm not signing it simply because I don't think it's discrimination because heterosexual couples don't need to use an outside source for their conception when offered IVF. The outside source being an actual human being.

I'm actually pretty furious that ANYONE thinks it's their god given right to use a man's sperm and even more furious that they think they'd be entitled to a woman's egg and body (with men using a surrogate). Do these people realise men and women are human, and that there'd be implications for the baby? My friend is donor conceived and has gone through hell and back WRT (accidentally) finding her birth father, and having the complications that brings (and sadly the eventual rejection) 1 all of which is common now thanks to the likes of ancestry DNA. She always says she wishes her mum, adoptive dad and bio dad would have thought of her and the impact on her when they were going through all this.

Assuming that there was "equality", and gay and lesbian couples qualified for free fertility treatment - where are all the sperm/ donors and surrogates going to come from? And how will the NHS take care of them and the children they conceive? Sperm donation is way more tightly regulated than it used to be, thank god, due to the impact on those conceived - how will this all be regulated and who will foot the Bill? To me, it's just a short cut to normalising surrogacy and creating a market for commercial surrogacy.

Equality doesn't always means "you get exactly the same" especially when circumstances are so different.

https://www.change.org/p/matt-hancock-stop-discriminating-against-lgbtq-families-in-the-nhs?utmcontent=cll_sharecopy254207899_en-GB%3A0&recruitedbyy_id=5e4a1470-278c-11eb-8dba-0dfc9da35170&utmsource=sharee_petition&utmmedium=copylink&utmm_campaign=psfcomboo_share_initial

OP’s posts: |
OhHolyJesus Mon 16-Nov-20 12:00:09

I agree OP, thanks for sharing this.

The content of the petition is inaccurate anyway, there is a post code lottery for IVF on the NHS for all couples regardless of sexual orientation. No one has ever brought a case against the NHS for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation have they?

It's interesting to see the cost of between 10-30k listed as the cost to lesbians for donated sperm when the man can only claim up to £750 for his 'donation'.

One wonders where the rest of the cash goes, how much does the storage actually cost, given there is no medical assistance needed for 'collection'...

Also, there are plenty of slightly dodgy websites for lesbians or single women to get sperm (Pollen Tree etc). Maybe the NHS should pay for the train fare so to facilitate 'natural insemination' as it is called or for the turkey baster? I don't agree with that process FWIW, for safety and safeguarding reasons, but hop into the Donor Conceived board to see how it's become more widely available.

I'm afraid these two women have it quite wrong and regardless of the success of this petition it will hold not weight with this current government.

Also, it's a bit crude with the timing...at a time of a global pandemic where the NHS is crumbling after budget cuts and our medical professionals are trying to keep people alive.

Also, the frozen storage space will be needed for a vaccine so maybe the IVF clinics need to consider there contribution for the great or good and not be so focused on profit for once...

OhHolyJesus Mon 16-Nov-20 12:11:03

From the letter template linked in the petition:

Same-sex male couples face even higher barriers when paying for a surrogate which can cost upwards of £40,000. In contrast, the majority of heterosexual couples are required to have unprotected sex for two years which, whilst a long wait, is free.

Heterosexual couples pay for 'surrogates' too and someone should break that figure down as you can only pay for expenses. 40k for a pregnancy? So commercial surrogacy doesn't already exist in the U.K.?

It's actually quite depressing that two women are referring to other women in this dehumanising way.

And goodness those poor gay men having to hire a woman to buy a baby and all from their own pocket.

Someone should do a feasibility study and cost out how much the NHS should expect to pay annually for all the baby-making.

Maybe once we've finished paying for the vaccine for all the old and sick and vulnerable we should start looking at creating new life instead of saving those who are already living.

Kantastic Mon 16-Nov-20 12:12:35

"LGBT couple" is the part of this that most troubles me.

Lesbians having access to sperm donors is not an equivalent proposition to gay men having access to surrogates. Any language that implicitly equates the two is papering over a lot of human rights issues.

NewlyGranny Mon 16-Nov-20 12:13:04

Sperm donors are one thing, but as anyone who's experienced egg "collection" or "retrieval" will tell you, it's a whole different experience. 🤦🏼‍♀️ I had the risky hyper-stimulation with drugs and 24 hour urine collection and monitoring followed by the collection itself. They give you valium and paracetamol and you need to have a full bladder. The long needle goes through abdomen and bladder and into the ovary, sometimes clean through the ovary to the far side if that's where the follicles are ripe. Trust me, there's no painkiller that reaches the ovaries and they are just as pain-sensitive as testicles; we just don't know it until there's a cyst or a bluddy great needle there. All this with a scanner pressing and moving on the bladder so the doctor can see where they're going.

My experience is well out of date now, but I don't suppose they've found a way of making it painless yet!

I underwent all this for our own IVF attempt. My DH got privacy, some dirty magazines and a sterile paper cup. All done and dusted in 2 minutes. I timed him.

Nobody could reasonably expect women to undergo this for strangers. It's usually sympathetic and generous relatives who know the prospective parent(s) and will be around to see the child grow up, or women having IVF themselves and agreeing to donate 'surplus' eggs.

I can't see supply ever matching demand, nor how the NHS could possibly generate supply on the first place.

MrsFogi Mon 16-Nov-20 12:17:33

Agreed - we provide (or should provide) IVF treatment for couples who cannot conceive. This is the NHS assiting with a medical issue and different to couples who are in same-sex relationships or single people who don't have a partner but want to have a baby. If the NHS is dragged into assisting as suggested there are huge worries around surrogacy as mentionned but also where on earth would the money come from (and, in turn, what would be cut to fund this)?

InspiralCoalescenceRingdown Mon 16-Nov-20 12:31:14

This petition seems a bit muddled. It talks a lot about IVF and the NICE guidelines for it, but that is as a treatment for infertility. The guidelines do specify that IVF should be available if artificial insemination has not worked. Surely they should be campaigning for artificial insemination on the NHS (and that would have to be available to heterosexual people as well to follow EA2010)? They seem to be arguing for IVF off the bat.

And as pp have mentioned, gay male couples are a completely different situation, again.

It's not discrimination (in the sense the petitioners are using the word) to refuse a treatment to someone who doesn't have a diagnosis of the condition that the treatment is for.

calllaaalllaaammma Mon 16-Nov-20 12:38:35

Jenifer Lahl talks about the dangers of commercial surragacy & gay men's right to parenting in the US in this youtube video:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=IilAnNlPXCA&ab_channel=Kellie-JayKeen

I don't think there should be any moves to increase surrogacy in the UK through the NHS, but the gay lobby has some powerful advocates and I think that they are going to be increasingly vocal about this issue over the next few years.
It's a men's rights vs. women's rights issue and you know how that usually goes for us.

EyesOpening Mon 16-Nov-20 12:38:57

I’m sure I read the other day, something about targets for surrogacy being available for everyone and I was wondering how they planned to achieve it. It left me fearing what might happen.

nepeta Mon 16-Nov-20 12:43:20

The major theoretical problem with lgbt couples (or unpartnered individuals of any sexual orientation) demanding equal 'rights' to become parents (which this essentially is) is that this requires some third person to be made to participate in the process.

Given the low status of women in many countries this can easily become exploitation of uterus-people, or at least a situation where we have a caste of commercial breed-for-pay-women all of whom are likely to be poor and many of whom are likely to belong to ethnic minorities not treated well in their wider communities.

asnugglysnerd Mon 16-Nov-20 12:44:59

I'm a gay woman, and for my girlfriend and I to have a baby, not only do we have to pay approx £1000 for sperm, we then have the cost of treatment - IUI/IVF/ICSI etc... I understand SOME of what Whitney and Megan are advocating for, and other parts I disagree.

The cost is astronomical, and due to having PCOS, I have a limited chance of actually being able to conceive, IUI or not.

A cycle of IUI costs circa £1000, add to that the cost of donor sperm, so for the 12 rounds of IUI we would need to pay for privately, we would then have spent upwards of £24,000... this is to perhaps never actually successfully conceive.

After this, we could then be eligible for the 'postcode lottery' funding for 1-3 rounds of IVF, or perhaps not... depending on where we live.

However, we probably wouldn't 'bother' with IUI due to the PCOS - why would we spend that much for each round of IUI when it has less chance working for us than IVF.

A cycle of IVF can cost between £3000 - £10,000... depending on the clinic, the treatments, medication etc... It is a vast expense and that is before even having a baby....

I do think there should be some sort of help available for this, however sperm/donor eggs etc shouldn't be given... they should be purchased (gosh, it sounds so clinical, which it is) but then where is the line drawn... yes that assistance may help gay women but then what about gay men etc...

We have identified a cost effective way which will cost us about £850 for the sperm, and £500 for the round of IVF (my partners eggs and me carrying) which is donating her eggs to someone who needs them in return for IVF at a reduced cost... The way we look at it, is that in order to conceive a baby, we need to have donor sperm, so we would like to give back to the community and help someone else who is struggling by donating eggs.

It is a bit of a sticky subject... I do feel it is unfair that there is no financial help available to same sex couples, but as I said before, where is the line drawn!?

3 of my close friends have struggled to conceive naturally and I have seen the devastation this causes, and I would never EVER want to deny them the opportunity - thankfully one has had 2 gorgeous sons, and the other 2 are pregnant.

GlummyMcGlummerson Mon 16-Nov-20 12:46:48

nepeta

The major theoretical problem with lgbt couples (or unpartnered individuals of any sexual orientation) demanding equal 'rights' to become parents (which this essentially is) is that this requires some third person to be made to participate in the process.

Given the low status of women in many countries this can easily become exploitation of uterus-people, or at least a situation where we have a caste of commercial breed-for-pay-women all of whom are likely to be poor and many of whom are likely to belong to ethnic minorities not treated well in their wider communities.


Yes this is exactly why I'm against signing the petition

OP’s posts: |
asnugglysnerd Mon 16-Nov-20 12:47:26

Just to add, I am unsure if Whitney and Megan are suggesting IVF immediately... in which case, I really don't agree...

IUI, perhaps... a lot less is involved, and it would take fewer resources and less cost to the NHS...

Although the NHS is vastly overstretched... God, I just don't know...

Iggypoppie Mon 16-Nov-20 12:49:52

Why don't LGBTQ men and women get together to raise families more often?

zanahoria Mon 16-Nov-20 13:13:55

I am unsure what they want and do not understand the discrimination angle.

Aesopfable Mon 16-Nov-20 13:26:18

Same-sex male couples face even higher barriers when paying for a surrogate which can cost upwards of £40,000. In contrast, the majority of heterosexual couples are required to have unprotected sex for two years which, whilst a long wait, is free.

Given surrogates in the uk can only be paid expenses, then those expenses are also incurred by heterosexual couples too. But are they suggesting that gay couples must have to have two years or trying to get pregnant with a surrogate before deemed ‘unsuccessful’? Otherwise how do those two sentences link together? They are also ignoring the different affect of time on women vs men.

chocolaterabbit Mon 16-Nov-20 13:27:45

Dh and I had to go through fertility treatment as DH had hepatitis C. Because we didn't have any fertility issues, it was a requirement that we went through artificial insemination rather than IVF as it was less traumatic and invasive and IVF would be there an option if that didn't work - so exactly the same as lesbian couples (although they have to use donor sperm).

As many many heterosexual couples have exactly the same treatment, I fail to see how this even starts to reach the basic hurdle for discrimination.

Mumoftwoinprimary Mon 16-Nov-20 13:27:57

What happens with straight couples when the man doesn’t produce any sperm?

What happens with straight couples if the woman had to have a hysterectomy?

PrawnofthePatriarchy Mon 16-Nov-20 13:28:22

Presumably couples for whom IVF doesn't work would also be entitled to an NHS surrogate? I find myself wondering where all these surrogates are going to be found. Another way to exploit women's bodies once sex work has become açceptable in places like Holbeck. It's outrageous.

I've never been happy about surrogacy. I used to be more accepting of altruistic surrogacy but as I found out more about it I realised that there are a minefield of potential problems even with that. Commercial surrogacy is no more acceptable than selling organs.

I totally disagree with the assumptions behind this petition.

Babies are not a right or a product. If your sexual relationship does not or cannot produce a pregnancy because you are a homosexual couple you cannot realistically expect the NHS or anyone else to provide you with a baby.

asnugglysnerd Mon 16-Nov-20 13:28:31

Iggypoppie

Why don't LGBTQ men and women get together to raise families more often?

I may have misunderstood the point you are making but I have to strongly disagree... I have gay male friends, however I would not choose to raise my child with them, and I am sure they would not with my girlfriend and I...

Just because we are gay doesn't dictate who we should and should not raise a child with...

A gay women would then have to donate her eggs, and a gay man likewise... that may not be something they wish to do...

asnugglysnerd Mon 16-Nov-20 13:30:34

PrawnofthePatriarchy

Presumably couples for whom IVF doesn't work would also be entitled to an NHS surrogate? I find myself wondering where all these surrogates are going to be found. Another way to exploit women's bodies once sex work has become açceptable in places like Holbeck. It's outrageous.

I've never been happy about surrogacy. I used to be more accepting of altruistic surrogacy but as I found out more about it I realised that there are a minefield of potential problems even with that. Commercial surrogacy is no more acceptable than selling organs.

I totally disagree with the assumptions behind this petition.

Babies are not a right or a product. If your sexual relationship does not or cannot produce a pregnancy because you are a homosexual couple you cannot realistically expect the NHS or anyone else to provide you with a baby.

A same sex couple can privately invest in 12 rounds of IUI and then only after this fails, they will be managed in the same way as a straight couple who has unsuccessfully tried to conceive for 2 years... postcode lottery for who will be given IVF on the NHS.

HermioneWeasley Mon 16-Nov-20 13:31:01

I saw the lesbian couple in the paper yesterday and I just KNEW it was a Trojan horse for gay men to be given surrogates. It’s horrifying.

BigFatLiar Mon 16-Nov-20 13:38:25

I don't think anyone of either sex has a 'right' to have a child.

Aesopfable Mon 16-Nov-20 13:43:58

A same sex couple can privately invest in 12 rounds of IUI and then only after this fails, they will be managed in the same way as a straight couple who has unsuccessfully tried to conceive for 2 years... postcode lottery for who will be given IVF on the NHS.

A heterosexual couple who have been unsuccessful for two years would be investigated for causes of their infertility. This would typically include taking a history, physical examination (man and woman), examination of sperm, various blood tests, and the woman would have scans (internal), hysterosalpingography and also a laparoscopy. After they have done all that, they may be offered six cycles of IUI

Antibles Mon 16-Nov-20 13:44:34

I agree OP.

I am now worrying that lesbians wanting sperm are going to provide the ethical 'cover' for gay men wanting donated eggs and surrogates - which is entirely different ballgame in terms of risks and burdens.

Plus 'LGBT' people are not infertile. They are just having sex with the wrong people for the purposes of conception. Agree with the PP who says it's more like a single person without a partner who wants a baby.

Imagine a straight man who couldn't get a partner saying he would love to be a dad and his right to become one was being infringed so therefore some woman was obliged to have his baby and the NHS was obliged to find her.

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