There’s been much discussion in recent days about the story in the Daily Mail about a same sex male couple in the UK who have received public funding for IVF treatment to try to create embryos using their own gametes and donor eggs. The couple intends to use any embryos they have created with public funding to have a child of their own through surrogacy.
We believe that anyone who cherishes a family of their own should have the chance to become a parent and we know through our own extensive experience and the well-documented empirical research by others that sexual orientation is not a factor in the quality of parenting or the outcomes for children. We are bewildered by the many negative comments directed towards gay parents when the reality of LGBT families is…. well… they are just like everyone else’s.
We think it’s great that these intended parents have secured public funds to help them create embryos, not because they are gay, but because the reality is that it’s rare for anyone in the UK to have their fertility treatment paid for when it’s related to surrogacy. It’s not fair that people are denied the same fertility treatment being offered to the rest of the population simply because they have the misfortune of being unable to carry their own child. This funding restriction is as much a curse to women who want to be mothers as it is to gay men who yearn to raise their own children. Fertility treatment is usually the biggest cost – and therefore barrier – to people being able to afford to have a child through surrogacy in the UK.
Altruistic surrogacy is thriving in the UK and a growing number of people are able to become parents through the generosity of the women who offer to carry their children for them without any commercial payment. This means that ordinary people can access surrogacy in our country in a way that just that isn’t possible elsewhere. It’s a shame, however, that our public policy and practice towards IVF funding appears to make sure that it remains the preserve of the rich. Of course, people who can’t carry their own children aren’t the only people with fertility issues to suffer from the intensifying rationing of NHS funding for fertility treatment.
But rather than bicker over who is more deserving of a dwindling pot of funds, Surrogacy UK urges everyone to get behind campaigns run by FertilityNetworkUK and others that seek to increase the public funding and distribute this based on need, and not on value judgements about a particular patient group or a lottery of postcodes.
Surrogacy in the UK: Further evidence for reform
Second Report of the Surrogacy UK Working Group on Surrogacy Law Reform