Lesbian couple Whitney and Megan Bacon-Evans, are launching a groundbreaking case against a fertility branch of the NHS, for discrimination against same-sex female couples, single women and individuals with wombs. The married pair, who work as influencers, announced on social media that they would be taking legal action on behalf of “every LGBTQ+ couple who had to give up on their hopes and dreams of creating a family” due to unfair financial obstacles.
The wives dubbed ‘Wegan’ by their over 200,000 followers, are accusing their clinical commissioning group (CCG), Frimley, of penalising them with a “gay tax” due to their sexuality. According to The Guardian, the clinic states that lesbian couples, single women and people with wombs, “must pay for twelve intrauterine insemination (IUI) or IVF treatments to ‘prove’ medical infertility, costing an estimate £30,000 or more, before receiving NHS help.”
This is a stark contrast to what is required of heterosexual couples, who only have to try conceiving for two years.
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The couple has so far spent £8,000 on donor sperm and mandatory pre-insemination tests, and launched a petition for equal treatment last November after being “shocked and devastated” by the financial barriers to pregnancy.
On Monday, November 8, legal firm Leigh Day, on behalf of the couple and with the support of Stonewall UK and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, will apply for a judicial review investigating Frimley’s alleged discrimination. Solicitor Anna Dews stated that if the review was successful, it would insight “powerful” change and encourage similar “unlawful” policies to be challenged across the UK.
Whitney and Megan added to this, saying that: “If found to be unlawful, this could positively impact the lives of tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of LGBTQ+ people embarking on their path to parenthood now and in the future to come. It is time for discrimination to end and for there to be equal treatment with heterosexual couples in the healthcare system.”
The lesbian couple has set up a fundraiser on Crowd Justice “to help cover the defendants’ fees” should they lose against the NHS in court. They have an initial target of £10,000, and say that “without raising funds, we cannot bring this claim.” Should they win the case, the unspent money will be used to help fight a similar legal case, or donated to the Access to Justice Fund, or a charity.
CCG Frimley, which serves around 800,000 patients across Windsor and Maidenhead, Bracknell Forest, Slough, Surrey Heath, north-east Hampshire and Farnham, has denied accusations of discrimination.
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