Given some of the homophobia that is expressed in this article, it seems like this couple might be providing a much needed service:
A lesbian couple have provoked controversy by opening the UK’s first ‘gay-only’ fertility clinic. The Birmingham fertility centre has been set up exclusively for same-sex couples to seek advice on conceiving children. Although they are marketing themselves as exclusively for gay couples, they have been warned they must not refuse to help heterosexual couples have children.
Ms Drew and Ms Phillips set up a web service designed to pair up same-sex couples with willing sperm donors before opening the Gay Family Web Fertility Centre, in Digbeth, Birmingham. Home Office spokesman: ‘If a straight couple were to approach them for help, they would not be able to refuse to serve them.’
The couple, who had their daughter Giana, six, and two-year-old son Kai by a sperm donor, say they felt the current system doesn’t do enough to recognise same-sex couples. Miss Drew said: ‘Most of the feedback we’ve had has shown bad experiences. A lot of the forms you fill out haven’t been adapted so will refer to a husband. ‘One lady we spoke to was having trouble conceiving, but she was told that she wasn’t. ‘Most of the GPs will try to be progressive, but they will refer to the person carrying the child and not the partner, which makes them feel excluded.’
The founders of the clinic, which offers guidance for £9.99 a month, have insisted that the centre is needed for same-sex couples to receive proper guidance, saying the current system is stacked against them. ‘Some couples were spending thousands of pounds going through the process and were no further forward,’ Natalie added. ‘We wanted to set up something where we would act as a go-between and where couples could meet potential donors face-to-face to work out how they would work things out. ‘We also want to save people from having to explain their situation, that they are gay and using a donor.’
The project has attracted criticism from Christian groups, who say that bringing children up outside the traditional family structure will be detrimental to their development. Mike Judge of the Christian Institute said: ‘Kids need a mum and a dad, a male and female role model. This is denying that, this is saying that it doesn’t matter which you have. ‘This clinic is more to do with the desires of adults rather than the best interests of children. A child does best when raised with a mum and a dad.’ Miss Drew added: ‘We are an alternative family but it works. There is a lot of research to say that children brought up by same-sex couples are just as happy as children from traditional families. ‘We do face a lot of people saying it’s not natural, but we have had lots of positive stuff from people in our community, lots of people on Facebook who have added me saying “what a good idea, that’s great what you’re doing”. ‘But we have had a bit of hostility, more from different gay groups that run similar centres who are are obviously a bit hostile because we’ve stood up and said that this needs to be exclusively gay.’
A Home Office spokesman said it is legitimate to advertise as a ‘same-sex fertility clinic’. ‘The law is very clear: someone who is providing a service cannot refuse to serve somebody on the basis of their sexual orientation, but in this case they can market themselves as a same-sex fertility clinic,’ he said. ‘However, if a straight couple were to approach them for help, they would not be able to refuse to serve them.’ Though the pair say they wouldn’t turn away a heterosexual couple, they said that the clinic’s priority is people in same-sex relationships.