Sky NewsBy Thomas Moore, health correspondent

Gay and lesbian couples will be eligible for free fertility treatment on the NHS under controversial new proposals.



Same-sex couples would be allowed artificial insemination, even if they don’t have a diagnosed fertility problem, according to draft guidelines from an NHS watchdog.


The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) says couples who do not become pregnant after six attempts with donor semen should be referred for further investigations and IVF.

Gay men could take along a surrogate mother, who would carry the baby for them.

It will be the first time that same-sex couples have been allowed NHS fertility treatment.

The recommendations are included in updated guidelines to NHS fertility provision that NICE is currently consulting on.

The guidelines also increase the upper age for IVF from 39 to 42.

People with infectious diseases such as HIV and those with a physical disability that prevents them from having sex would also be eligible for treatment.

But religious groups have condemned the inclusion of homosexual couples in the guidelines.

Josephine Quintavalle, director of Comment on Reproductive Ethics , told Sky News: “The NHS does not have enough money to go round.


“It’s one thing to treat people with genuine fertility problems. But just because someone’s sexual persuasion does not allow them to have children does not mean we have to kowtow to political correctness.”

Professor David Jones, director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre , said: “NICE is requiring the NHS to provide a treatment not for a medical problem but for a personal choice.”

But a spokeswoman for NICE said gay and lesbian couples may not know they are infertile.

“We need to take into account equality legislation,” she said.

Ruth Hunt of campaign group Stonewall said: “Despite vital legal protections secured by Stonewall for same-sex couples who wish to become parents, many tell us they find it hard to access treatment either because of varying policies across primary care trusts or outright discrimination.

“Stonewall will continue to work closely with NICE and the NHS to make sure that lesbian and bisexual women are fairly treated.”



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