Access to fertility services for lesbian women in Canada

Capsule:
Lesbian women in Canada face several barriers when accessing reproductive care.

Authors:
Shannon L. Corbett, M.D., Helena M. Frecker, M.D., Heather M. Shapiro, M.D., Mark H. Yudin, M.D.

Volume 100, Issue 4, Pages 1077-1080, October 2013

Abstract:

Objective:
To determine reproductive services offered to lesbian patients by Canadian fertility clinics, policies of practice, ease of access to these services, and sensitivity of clinics to this population of patients.

Design:
Survey sent to assisted reproductive technology (ART) clinic directors.

Setting:
Academic medical center, university-based ethics institute.

Patient(s):
None.

Intervention(s):
None.

Main Outcome Measure(s):
The percentage of Canadian fertility clinics that will provide reproductive services to lesbian patients; services offered; the presence of clinic policies on lesbian care; and the presence on web sites of heteronormative material.

Result(s):
Completed surveys were received from 71% (24/34) of clinics. All clinics surveyed provided reproductive services to lesbian patients, with the exception of one clinic. Five of 24 (21%) clinics have a written policy on care for lesbian patients; 29% (7/24) will provide services to lesbian patients without prior investigations. All clinics will offer IUI and cycle monitoring to lesbian patients. Twenty-three of 24 clinics (96%) will offer IVF services when required. Fourteen of 32 clinic web sites (44%) make mention of lesbian patients and 27% (8/30) have heteronormative information only.

Conclusion(s):
Lesbians encounter several barriers to accessing reproductive services in Canada. Addressing these issues could improve experiences of lesbian women and couples seeking care at fertility clinics.

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