Happy Pride Month From Béa!

This week, our fertility experts will focus on planning a pregnancy when you are LGBTQ+.
Inclusivity is not just for Pride Month. Do you have suggestions for how our future newsletters can be more inclusive or topics you would like to see addressed? We would love to hear from you. Simply reply to this email with your thoughts and feedback and we look forward to addressing your topic in a future newsletter.

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Topic of the Week
How to Access the Care You Need

Starting a family is an exciting moment for any couple, but can come with some logistical hurdles if you are LGBTQ+. Undergoing fertility treatments can be a daunting process, and accessing NHS care can be especially difficult for anyone who is LGBTQ+ as there are often extra steps you must complete in order to receive care. What care you are entitled to depends on the policies of your local NHS area (your CCG if you live in England, your LCG in Northern Ireland, or your Health Board if you live in Scotland and Wales).

If you’ve made the decision to start trying to conceive, the first step should usually be to go and speak to your GP about your options. They will be able to advise you on what fertility treatment is available in your local CCG and will have knowledge of any factors that may affect your eligibility. Many factors determine your eligibility for care including:

  • Age 
  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Previous children
  • Lifestyle factors
  • Previous sterilisation procedures – if you’ve had any procedures to permanently prevent you from having children

If you aren’t trying to conceive by sexual intercourse, a number of areas allow you to access fertility treatments via the NHS straight away, though you may need to meet some or all of the additional criteria above. This treatment usually consists of 1, 2 or 3 rounds of NHS-funded IVF (in vitro fertilisation). You can read more about IVF here

However, in some areas you may be required to self-fund a fertility treatment called intrauterine insemination (IUI) before you are eligible to receive IVF on the NHS. IUI is a cheaper treatment than IVF but is still likely to cost £700 to £1800 per cycle. LGBTQ+ activists Whitney and Megan Bacon-Evans are currently challenging these policies in an active court case. More details and to sign their petition for Fertility Equality can be found here.

Private treatment
Unfortunately not everyone is able to access fertility treatment on the NHS, so many look to private fertility clinics. When you attend a private fertility clinic, you will have a consultation with a fertility doctor. The doctor will discuss the available treatment options and may request additional investigations. The cost of fertility treatments and donor sperm can vary, so be sure to check what particular treatment type may be most suitable for you and compare prices between clinics. Private IVF in the UK costs around £5,000 per cycle, depending if you require any additional treatments or medications.

Trying at home
If you’d rather not visit a fertility clinic or you aren’t eligible for NHS care you may wish to consider options for conceiving at home. Donation of sperm and eggs is very tightly regulated in the UK and it is not possible to have frozen gametes delivered to your home. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, which regulates fertility clinics in the UK, provides guidance to those considering donor conception. If you do decide to go down this route we recommend you make sure you fully understand the implications on legal parenthood and also any health screening that is recommended before trying to conceive. 

Have you ever used any home insemination products? 
If yes, our research team would love to hear about your experience. 30 minutes, entirely anonymous, research purposes only. Book your session here.

What to Do Next
How to Access The Care You Need

Before you visit your GP, check what is covered for LGBTQ+ people in your area
GP visits are short and not all doctors are aware of the local policies. You can find your local NHS area on the NHS website and then look up their guidelines on fertility. You can usually do this by searching ‘fertility policy’ on that area's website. If you’re struggling, you can also check out this database from The Fertility Network. However, be aware policies change frequently.

If you will be using donor sperm or eggs
The Donor Conception Network produces excellent content, community, and workshops to get you started. They also address critical legal and health implications to consider if you are going down this route. 

If you are looking for a sperm or egg donor
Pride Angel offers a matching service for people seeking donated sperm and eggs, as well as excellent resources and at-home kits.

Other useful resources
How to choose a fertility clinic
Search for a fertility clinic near you

Further Reading
The Best Links For Your Weekend Sofa Time.

Have a wonderful weekend. If you catch yourself thinking of us before next Friday, reply to this email and let us know what you thought of our newsletter this week.

See you next Friday!

Our newsletters are written by our fantastic medical team
Dr. Louise, MBChB
Sandy, Embryologist
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