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Lesbian couple ‘dismissed’ by fertility clinic

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.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Nemo Momenti says:

    Good for you, NHS! The NHS exists to provide medical services. It should provide fertility treatment only to those who cannot conceive naturally because they have a medical problem, not to those who can’t conceive because of an unwillingness to perform the necessary act. What’s going to happen when two male gays demand fertility treatment on the NHS (or otherwise) and complain that they have been discriminated against?

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