Laws preventing people with non-transmissible HIV from accessing IVF treatment and requiring same-sex couples to pay up to £1,000 for safety screenings before accessing IVF will be scrapped, the Government has announced.
Currently, same-sex couples looking to conceive via reciprocal IVF must first screen for infectious disease, including for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or rubella, which can cost up to £1,000.
The new change in law will ensure that lesbian couples trying to conceive have the same rights as heterosexual couples accessing IVF.
Similarly, the law change will also mean that same sex couples where one or both partners are HIV positive but have an undetectable viral load will be able to access treatment.
This will extend to include known sperm or egg cell donation to friends or relatives.
Minister for women’s health Maria Caulfield announced the change to law during a general debate on IVF provision in Westminster Hall.
Commenting on the scrapped laws, she said: ‘Millions of couples dream of the joy of parenthood and bringing life into the world. But for many, that joy turns to unimaginable pain as they experience the distress of fertility issues.
‘That’s why we’re changing the law, so it works for everyone and supports as many people as possible to conceive. 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.’
And the Fertility Network UK’s head of policy and public affairs, Dr Catherine Hill, said: ‘As the national charity, 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.
‘This legislative change, when enacted, will also be a step forward in removing the massive financial barriers facing female same-sex couples hoping to become parents via fertility services.’