Thank you to everyone who contacted me about access to IVF for same-sex couples, and for highlighting the policy differences between different Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) in Islington South and Finsbury, and across England.
This is an issue of great importance to me. Way back in 2008, during a debate on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, I called for language in the Bill to be changed to be LGBTQ+ inclusive, arguing that the Bill’s terminology referring to “the need… for a father” expressly discriminated against single women and same-sex couples.
I agree that it is important that LGBTQ+ people have the same access as others to IVF treatment funded through the NHS, and it’s troubling that varying policies between ICBs create barriers that could make the difference to being able to have a family. Access to fertility treatment should not be subject to a ‘postcode lottery’.
This isn’t the first time constituents have pointed out the disparity between what is offered by the different health boards that serve Islington. I wrote to the Secretary of State for Health about this issue a year ago, so it’s disappointing that since then the government appear to have made no progress on this issue. Perhaps that’s hardly surprising when you consider the fact that the Health Secretary job has changed hands three times in that short space of time.
I have written once again to the Department of Health and Social Care demanding an update on progress in this area. You can read that letter by clicking here.
Please know that I will always stand up for equal access to all for fertility treatment.