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Same-sex Couples: Insemination Services

Volume 691: debated on Wednesday 24 March 2021

Regulation of fertility treatment services is UK-wide, but policy is devolved. In England, decisions about local fertility services are determined by clinical commissioning groups, taking account of National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines, which include provision for same-sex female couples.

At present, Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority guidance largely prohibits supplying sperm for insemination at home. Same-sex couples who are trying to get pregnant have few options via the NHS other than to access insemination services from a registered UK clinic. That means that couples who live further away from such clinics face further costs in their aspiration to start a family. Will the Minister, working with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and the HFEA, explore ways in which this issue could be mitigated?

On the question about the delivery of sperm to residential addresses, that can be done across the UK, but the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority advises against it because the origin of the sample and whether it is undamaged cannot be guaranteed. Undergoing treatment at a licensed UK clinic provides the donor and the patient with legal certainty about their parental status and their future responsibilities, but I am very happy to take up the hon. Lady’s question further with the Minister for Innovation, as this sits in his portfolio.