Women will be able to undergo IVF using their partner's eggs, without their partner undergoing additional screening usually required for gamete donors...
Planned legislative change, to allow same-sex partners not to be considered gamete donors during IVF, was unveiled by the UK Government during a debate in Parliament initiated by Jarrow MP Kate Osborne on 24 October 2023. While all patients undertaking IVF are tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C, currently women in same-sex couples who wish to use their eggs – in a pregnancy that their partner will carry – are required to undergo additional screening including for syphilis and chlamydia, as well as genetic screening, for conditions such as cystic fibrosis.
Private fertility clinics currently charge up to £1000 for this additonal screening. The requirement will be dropped when the relevant legislation changes, but a date for this change has yet to be announced.
The Minister for Women, Maria Caulfield, said: 'Our flagship Women's Health Strategy is committed to improving access to IVF and we'll continue working to ensure as many people as possible can access this vital support.'
Dr Catherine Hill, Fertility Network UK's head of policy and public affairs, said: 'Fertility Network UK welcomes this change in fertility legislation which will remove an inequality between how women in same-sex couples are treated when donating an egg to their partner as part of reciprocal IVF, and how heterosexual couples undergoing fertility treatment are treated.'
Prior to the Parliamentary debate, Osborne held a drop-in-session attended by PET (Progress Educational Trust) director Sarah Norcross and other campaigners, to discuss the challenges facing same-sex couples who wish to access fertility treatment to have a family.
Earlier this year, PET published its report The Power of Three IVF Cycles, which investigated GPs' and commissioners' understanding and knowledge of the NICE Fertility Guideline (see BioNews 1190). The report highlighted confusion about the Guideline among many GPs (see BioNews 1190), and was among the resources included in a research briefing provided for the Parliamentary debate.
Campaigners emphasised that clarity was still needed, over timelines for changes promised by the Government in both in the Women's Health Strategy published in July 2022 (see BioNews 1152) and the latest announcements.
By Hannah Flynn via BioNews, read more on https://www.progress.org.uk/government-to-scrap-additional-ivf-screening-for-same-sex-couples/