Health authority sued over lesbian insemination

Only one woman in a lesbian couple has the right to insemination according to Uppsala health authority. Discrimination - argues the Ombudsman against Discrimination on grounds of Sexual Orientation (HomO).

After three attempts to get pregnant by insemination one woman in the lesbian couple became ineligible for further attempts as she had passed the maximum age stipulated by Uppsala health authority. Her younger partner then decided that she would try to become pregnant in her place – but was refused by Uppsala University Hospital.

“As we see it we have treated them as a couple. Should you have double the number of opportunities to get pregnant just because you are a lesbian couple?”, said Ulf Hansson, senior physician at the hospital.

The couple reported the incident to HomO which is now demanding 200,000 kronor ($33,156) in compensation from Uppsala county health authority.

“We consider the grounds on which the couple were refused to be inconsistent with current discrimination legislation,” said Christine Giljam at HomO.

HomO is arguing that the authority should have given an exemption to the principle of equal treatment as it is in practice unfair to lesbian couples.

“They say that they treat all couples the same, that is to say that only one receives the treatment and of course you can not inseminate men,” said Giljam.

The case will be considered by the district court in the autumn and Ulf Hansson welcomes the chance to establish a legal precedent.

“We will naturally adapt (our routines) in accordance with the result,” he said.