Gay male couple to be offered IVF on NHS for ‘first time in Britain’

A gay male couple representing same-sex couples who have a child through an adoption agency

A gay couple in Scotland have been offered IVF treatment by the NHS for what is believed to be the first time in the UK.

The married couple plan to have a baby via IVF, using the sperm of one of the men and a surrogate mother to carry the child, reports The Mail on Sunday. The newspaper has chosen to keep the identity of the gay couple, who are married, anonymous.

The NHS will fund the IVF fertilisation process and the embryo being implanted into the surrogate mother.

The NHS has previously refused to give gay male couples the treatment because of a “blanket ban” on funding treatment that involves use of a surrogate, reports the Mail on Sunday.

Gay male couples excluded from using surrogate in IVF treatment

However, Scotland’s government changed that policy two years ago meaning that, regardless of sexual orientation or gender, any couple can access free fertility treatment.

A gay male couple holding hands, representing a gay male couple being offered free IVF treatment on the NHS in the UK

A gay couple holding hands. (BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images)

In 2013, the NHS updated its guidance so IVF could be made available to same-sex couples and single women with fertility issues in Scotland, England and Wales.

But, in practice, this amendment only benefited same-sex female couples because of the ban on using surrogates.

Those wanting to access the free IVF treatment were required to show infertility by demonstrating that they had failed to get pregnant after a number of attempts using artificial insemination.

Gay couple will have to find their own surrogate, says NHS spokesperson

A Scottish government spokesperson told the Mail on Sunday that fertility was being offered to gay men with fertility problems in same-sex relationships, including those using a surrogate.

However, the spokesperson stressed that the NHS does not find the surrogate.

It is believed there are no instances where a gay male couple has been offered IVF treatment on the NHS in England, where each of the roughly 200 clinical commissioning groups set their own rules for eligibility.

In Wales, the NHS offers fertility treatment to gay male couples in theory.

However, the policy notes that “surrogacy IVF will only be provided where no other fertility treatment options are available” and only for “medical reasons.”