NHS sued over trans rights

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is taking NHS England to court because it’s failing to routinely offer fertility treatment when people transition.

The watchdog warned the NHS it would take action if they didn’t start to offer all people the chance to freeze sperm or eggs before transitioning.

Suing for trans people

There’s been no change in the rules the NHS operates by, so the watchdog will go to the High Court for a Judicial Review.

The court will decide whether the NHS is acting unlawfully by not giving trans patients the same care it would offer to someone undergoing other treatments which can lead to infertility.

Deadline for action missed

The Commission wrote to NHS England giving them two weeks to make a change or face legal acton. Then they gave them a little more time.

A spokesperson for NHS England told TransNews that “NHS England has responded in detail to the EHRC explaining why we believe their request is both misjudged and potentially unfair to NHS patients”.

Pressing on

The Commission weren’t satisfied with the reply they got, and they are going to go ahead with their court action.

“We are proceeding with our judicial review claim”,  said Rebecca Hilsenrath, the Chief Executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Not a choice you should have to make

“[We] 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.”

At the moment if you undergo GRS the NHS doesn’t routinely offer the chance to freeze eggs or sperm.

What is judicial review?

The Ministry of Justice says in judicial review a Court examines decisions made by the Government or public bodies to ensure that they have been made in a lawful way.

It says judicial review looks at how decisions are made, not whether the decision was the right one or not.

It’s used when there is no other way left to challenge a decision, and for that reason it’s called a remedy of ‘last resort’.


The watchdog says that’s outdated and discrimination. Patients undergoing other treatments which can lead to infertility are given the option as a matter of course.

If you are anywhere in the process of gender reassignment you are part of nine groups protected by the Equalities Act 2010, and discriminating against you because of your gender reassignment is illegal.

It’s that law that the equalities watchdog is trying to enforce.

Picture Credits: Embedded image of cryogenic freezing, Getty Images. NHS logo, NHS. Royal Courts of Justice (High Court), Wikimedia Commons.





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