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NHS sued over transgender fertility treatment



NHS England is being sued for failing to offer fertility treatment to all transgender patients.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission insists transgender patients – who are often left infertile by gender reassignment treatment – have the right to freeze their sperm or eggs to enable them the option to start a family later in life.

Jamie underwent gender reassignment treatment two years ago when he was 18 and is now a volunteer for the charity Mermaids. He lives with his fiancee and is keen to have a family in the future.

He was given the choice to freeze his eggs before transitioning from female to male, and believes that option should be automatic.

Jamie was able to freeze his eggs before he transitioned
Jamie was able to freeze his eggs before he transitioned

Jame said: “My experience with it all was fairly positive compared to other people’s.

“Say in years to come if I was to carry on with my transition and not have known anything about it and then the option came across now, and I’ve gone through all my transition and there’s no going back and I wasn’t given the option it would sort of crush your spirits to wonder ‘what if’.”

Although Jamie was given options with regards to fertility treatment, he believes support in general for the transgender community is inadequate.

He added: “Just imagine if your child was going through a journey and he was feeling suicidal every day when they woke up and getting bullied at school and not wanting to go to school or out of the house.

“I feel there is a long way to go and they don’t think about the young people themselves, they don’t know what it’s like to be sat in their shoes for one minute.”

Freezing a patient’s eggs or sperm before they undergo gender reassignment treatment would give transgender people the option to have biological children later in life.

Elizabeth Prochaska says they are bringing the case to make sure there is equal chance for transgender men and women
Elizabeth Prochaska says they are bringing the case to make sure there is equal chance for transgender men and women

Elizabeth Prochaska, legal director of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, says they are bringing legal action against NHS England to ensure choices are left open for transgender men and women.

She said: “We want to make sure there is no discrimination in the health service in the provision it makes for people. The trans community is growing and it’s particularly vulnerable and it needs this support and it should be done on a national level.”

Suing NHS England will no doubt prove controversial when the health service is struggling to balance budgets and provide core services.


Proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act have sparked a bitter divide between the trans community and groups of feminists.

They maintain its not their responsibility to ensure that fertility treatment is available to all patients.

In a statement, the NHS said: “NHS England has responded in detail to the EHRC explaining why we believe their request is both misjudged and potentially unfair to NHS patients. If however they still decide to sue the NHS, the courts will consider the matter in the usual way.”

Many women on waiting lists for fertility treatment on the NHS pay thousands privately to freeze their eggs as it’s not a service automatically offered.

Jane Galloway argues more support is needed
Jane Galloway argues more support is needed

Some women’s rights activists argue the bigger issue is why young people are being given treatment that affects their fertility in the first place.

Women’s rights campaigner Jane Galloway argues more support is needed.

She said: “Instead of reaching straight for puberty blockers, which as we know will lead to the majority of them taking cross sex hormones, there needs to be a much more robust system of psychological support, counselling, psychotherapy, to really investigate whether there are other reasons behind their feelings.”

Whether young people should have to choose between gender dysphoria treatment and having children could now be up to the courts and its an issue which further fuels the clash between transgender campaigners and some women’s rights activists.

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