Access to IVF

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2006 National Women's Conference
27 October 2005

Conference notes that the government recently carried out a comprehensive public consultation on the Human Fertility and Embryology Act.

Matters subject to the review included:

1) access to IVF – at the time of launch of the consultation the government reiterated its view that it considered that it is in the best interests of a child to have a father and a mother and that it is unlikely to change its position or guidance which impacts on access to NHS-funded IVF for lesbians and single women;

2) sex selection – the consultation asked the question whether sex selection should be banned or whether it should be allowed for family balancing therefore reinforcing gender stereotypes;

3)criteria for accepting potential parents – the criteria includes age, health, commitment and ability to provide for a future child. Whilst Conference strongly believes that the welfare of a child is paramount, it recognises that the assessment of what makes a good parent is subjective and that the criteria has the potential to discriminate against disabled, black, low paid, and lgbt prospective parents and non-traditional families.

Conference therefore instructs the National Women’s Committee to:

a)enter into discussions with the other national self-organised group committees in relation to issues raised in the consultation;

b)suggest recommendations to formulate a UNISON view with the intention of raising any concerns at any future appropriate opportunities;

c)raise awareness of the issues regarding access to IVF and the potential discrimination issues that may arise.