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Lesbian couple’s victory over NHS fertility treatment

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A local health authority has backed down after they were taken to court for refusing fertility treatment to a lesbian couple.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (GGC) were taken to the Court of Session in Edinburgh by Caroline Harris and Julie McMullan, who were claiming £20,000 compensation.

A consultant told them last July they did “not fit the criteria” for IVF and “unfortunately as they are a same sex couple they would not be eligible for NHS funded treatment.”

The Equality and Human Rights Commission took up their claim that the rules governing access to IVF treatment make no reference to sexual orientation.

The health board denied discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation but today released this statement:

“As a couple, these two individuals are biologically incapable of conceiving and the board, therefore, initially took the view that the couple did not meet the necessary criteria to receive NHS-funded treatment.

“The board has, however, reconsidered its position in light of other regulations, including the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 and Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) regulations 2007, and has now decided to offer treatment to this couple.”

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