Equalities watchdog in legal challenge over fertility services for transgender people

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is to take NHS England to judicial review over fertility services for transgender people.

Commission chief executive Rebecca Hilsenrath said: “We have received a comprehensive response from NHS England to our letter regarding the provision of fertility services for transgender patients before they undergo treatment for gender dysphoria.

“We are proceeding with our judicial review claim and will remain in discussions with NHS England about the need to ensure the transgender community can access health services free from discrimination and that individuals do not have to choose between treatment for gender dysphoria and the chance to start a family.”

The commission said in August that what it called outdated NHS policies amounted to discrimination as treatment for gender dysphoria can result in loss of fertility and the main way to prevent this is by extracting and storing eggs and sperm.

Individual clinical commissioning groups can choose whether to provide this service on the NHS.

The Commission said it believed this should be offered as a standard procedure for gender dysphoria across the NHS.

An NHS England spokesperson 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.”

Mark Smulian

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