A lesbian couple in Northern Ireland claim they had to use a private fertility clinic after they were “dismissed” by the NHS.
Sarah Murphy and Jenny Doherty wanted to have a child with both of their names on her birth certificate but were told they were ineligible by an NHS clinic. Department of Health criteria require potential patients to have unsuccessfully tried to conceive for three years or have a medical condition before they can receive treatment. These rules have been criticised by same sex couples who claim they are impossible to follow.
The couple had been together for five years but were not married or part of a civil partnership. As a result, the only way to ensure that both names were on their child’s birth certificate was conception using an official clinic. Had they tried to go it alone “there could have been a court battle” to have both of them recognised as parents, Ms Murphy told the BBC.
She said that “from the moment we walked in the door, we were almost dismissed”. The experience made them feel “embarrassed for wanting something that every other human in the world wants” she added.
After their difficulties with the NHS fertility clinic, the couple sought out private treatment which helped Ms Murphy to fall pregnant. There was a noticeable difference in that clinic as the couple were “treated as a couple who wanted to have a baby, just the same as every other couple who were there”.
The private treatment cost them around £6,000 which they could only afford with “loans and credit cards and help from [Ms Murphy’s] parents” she said. While the couple “would do it again in a heartbeat” they expressed regret that had to spend so much.