Megan Bacon-Evans and her wife Whitney from Windsor, England have filed a landmark legal test case against Frimley, an NHS fertility sector, claiming that they discriminate against same-sex couples.

The LGBTQI social media content creators, known as “Wegan” have around 140,000 followers on YouTube, TikTok and Twitter.  The couple have started a petition for equal treatment of LGBTQI families after claiming they were financially penalised because of their sexuality. 

According to the couple, cis-gendered heterosexual couples are only required to try to conceive for two years before approaching the NHS.

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However, Frimley demands that same-sex female couples pay for 12 intrauterine inseminations before being eligible for help from the NHS. This can easily cost up to 54,900 AUD. This amounts to what the couple call a “gay tax” when its comes to NHS’ fertility treatments. Same-sex couple have to spend thousands of dollars to prove their infertility unlike heterosexual couples, they said. 

‘It’s Time To End The Discrimination’

“We’re doing this for every LGBT+ couple who had to give up on their hopes and dreams of creating a family. It’s time for discrimination to end and for there to be equal treatment with heterosexual couples in the healthcare system,” Megan Bacon-Evans told the Guardian

‘Wegan; launched an 18,000 AUD fundraiser to cover their legal fees as they bring the matter to court, citing discrimination under articles eight and 14 of the European convention on human rights. The couple is supported by legal firm Leigh Day, Stonewall UK and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service. 

“Currently the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence fertility guidelines and variations in the services available through local clinical commissioning groups create unacceptable financial and practical barriers that disproportionately affect LGBTQ+ people, particularly lesbians and bi women,” Eloise Stonborough, Stonewall’s associate director of policy and research, told the Guardian.

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Frimley has denied all accusations of discrimination.

Verdict Could Impact Majority Of Clinics

Although the social media star couple started the petition in November last year, the case can only be heard as soon as January 2022 if permission is granted. If the case ends in favor of the queer couple, it could mean “a powerful precedent to challenge similar unlawful policies across the UK” according to Anna Dews from Leigh Day.

The verdict could impact a majority of England’s clinics, as a British Pregnancy Advisory Service report from June revealed that 76% of the UK’s fertility clinics have been accused of imposing “significant financial barriers on LGBT families and single women”.

“These restrictions amount to a tax on LGBT+ families, and the impact can be truly devastating. The need for reform is urgent. We are proud to stand with Whitney and Megan in their fight for fertility equality, and we applaud their courage for publicly sharing such a personal struggle,” said Marta Jansa Perez, the BPAS director of embryology to the Guardian.

 

 

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