NHS England is to be taken to court by the UK’s equality watchdog for failing to offer fertility services to transgender patients.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission will launch a high-profile judicial review action, a legal manoeuvre that is likely to prove controversial at a time when the NHS is struggling to balance budgets and provide core services.
Last month the Observer reported that the commission had written to NHS England putting it on notice that it needed to offer fertility services to transgender patients before they underwent treatment for gender dysphoria, a process that normally results in a loss of fertility.
By extracting and storing eggs and sperm before they undergo gender reassignment, transgender people can choose to have their biological children delivered via surrogates later in life. However, many are keen to proceed with treatment when they are teenagers, and may not have the resources to pay for such fertility services. This, the commission argues, discriminates against transgender people, whom it says should be offered the services as a standard procedure.
And if you’re not willing to carry the costs then you don’t really want that decision, do you?