Bourn Hall busts fertility myths at Pride events this Summer

Bourn Hall’s friendly staff will be available to chat to visitors at Essex Pride, Cambridge Pride and Norwich Pride to explain the options and support available at our clinics for LGBTQ+ people looking to start a family.  

It is difficult for couples not in heterosexual relationships to get expert fertility advice, so Bourn Hall is supporting three Pride events this Summer to show that our doors are always open for a chat. 

Dr Thanos Papathanasiou
Dr Thanos Papathanasiou

“Many LGBTQ+ people want to have children at some stage in their lives and know they need support to achieve that,” says Dr Thanos Papathanasiou, Chief Executive and Medical Director at Bourn Hall. 

 “Our concern is that they will go on the internet for advice and not talk to a health professional about their options.  

“Essex Pride, Cambridge Pride and Norwich Pride are good opportunities to meet people face-to-face and get the message out that it is never too early to consider your fertility options and we are happy to talk.” 

Of particular concern to fertility experts at Bourn Hall is that same-sex female couples still look for sperm donors online.  In addition to the safety and health fears, the baby and its parents will not have proper legal protections. 

“Some lesbian couples or single women think the ‘DIY’ method at home with internet sourced sperm will be cheaper, but the human cost can be high,” Dr Papathanasiou continues. “Fertility treatment through a registered clinic ensures that donors have been screened and both mums become legal parents of the baby.” 

Options available to same-sex female couples at a regulated fertility clinic are IUI (intrauterine insemination) where donor sperm is inserted directly into the womb or IVF where donor sperm is mixed with collected eggs in the lab.  

The latest figures released by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, which regulates fertility clinics in the UK, revealed that more lesbian couples going through clinics are now choosing to have IVF – with 45 per cent of treatment cycles for patients in female same-sex relationships now IVF, compared to ten years previously when it was only 27 per cent. 

Dr Papathanasiou says: “There are a number of choices for same-sex female couples and it is well worth talking through the options. Many don’t realise they can also donate some of their eggs and get IVF treatment at a much-reduced price and this might make it more accessible. 

“We also offer IVF to same-sex male couples who are supported by a surrogate to carry the pregnancy as well as egg or sperm freezing options for trans people ahead of starting hormone treatment. 

Edith and Douglas
Amelia and Helen’s twins Edith and Douglas

Amelia and Helen from Essex are mums to nine-month-old twins after successful IVF treatment at Bourn Hall’s Essex clinic:   

“We knew we wanted to do it ‘properly’,” says Amelia, “and we wanted any future children to know that we had invested time, thought and planning into them coming into existence. It is a serious and important decision.”  

The couple have the following advice for other same-sex couples who want to become parents: 

“I would say get started as soon as you can. Don’t hang around and wait, have the consultation with the doctors at the clinic, discuss what your options are,” says Amelia. 

“We love being parents. When you have really hoped and wished for something for such a long time, you just love and appreciate every minute of it. “  

Cambridge Pride takes place on 17 June, Essex Pride takes place on 24 June and Norwich Pride takes place on 29 July. 

Read more about Amelia and Helen’s story here.

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