A RECENTLY-MARRIED lesbian couple were heartbroken to be told they would not be given help from the NHS to have children after asking their GP practice.

Irvine wives Gemma and Stacie, who recently tied the knot in the Riverside Lodge, planned to start a family and inquired how they would go about artificial insemination at their GP surgery.

However after Stacie contacted the Townhead GP surgery this month to speak to a doctor she was advised they could not be given any help with artificial insemination within Ayrshire and Arran – with the couple saddened to think they would have to pay privately or do it themselves with a sperm donation.

After being contacted by the Times, the NHS has since assured they do offer same-sex couples in Ayrshire support and advising anyone to speak with their GP.

However, Stacie said: “I actually went in to see the receptionist at the GP surgery and she didn’t really have a lot of information to give me. She said she would speak to a doctor and we would get a call back. Two days later she called me back saying she had spoken to a GP and they advised that Ayrshire and Arran don’t offer any help with artificial insemination in this area.

“She advised that what we could do was go private or basically Google some stuff – so I don’t feel we were given much information. When she said she was going to phone me back I assumed it was going to be a doctor as I had questions for him. The receptionist can’t really answer much and apologised saying there was nothing else they could do.”

Wife Gemma added: “The fact you can’t even get speaking to a doctor is just ridiculous on it’s own.

“Just fob you off and tell you to Google it and pay £10-15,000 privately.”

Stacie said: “She said that she had Googled some information too but I think it’s bad they don’t have that kind of information or even leaflets in the surgery – you can’t tell me in this day and age that there aren’t a lot of same-sex couples wanting to have children?

“The Stonewall [LGBT campaign group] website gave you a step by step guide on how to do an at home insemination but the other option is to actually have sex with a male, which is quite degrading” – with Gemma adding they were “lesbian for a reason”.

Stacie added: “It’s quite degrading to think you would have to go out and buy all that to do it yourself. And we don’t really even have a huge amount of male friends either, so who do you ask [for a sperm sample]?

“And there’s the legality of everything. A friend is someone who is in your life and that’s always going to be a question in your head when your child says to you who is my father. At least if it’s someone you don’t know you can say we went to a donation bank and such and such, but if you say it’s my pal who lives down the street it’s a bit awkward, I think it would be even more awkward for them as well as they’d have to watch that child grow up, and it’s easy to say your not interested when your donating but feelings change.”

Crawford McGuffie, Joint Medical Director of Fertility Services said: “NHS Ayrshire & Arran receive referrals to our Fertility Services for all couples, irrespective of gender, who live in Ayrshire and Arran, and require support with infertility and assisted conception.

“Same sex women couples are offered treatment within NHS Ayrshire & Arran provided they fulfil the criteria laid down by the Scottish Government. For those couples who meet the criteria for assisted conception, we would make an onward referral to the specialist centre in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde for further management. For couples requiring donor insemination, either for intra-uterine insemination or in-vitro fertilisation, they are referred to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. The couple may either bring along their own donor or this would require to be obtained from a sperm bank.

“We would advise couples to go to their family doctor (GP) to discuss their situation. Referrals will generally come from the GP once a consultation has taken place between the couple and the GP. Following on from this the couple should be referred to the Ayrshire Fertility Unit within NHS Ayrshire & Arran for assessment.”

Stacie added: “I’m really glad about that, I’ll be taking that response into the doctors.

“I was really upset when she said that and then I had the conversation with Gemma. It leaves you thinking where do I go from here and there isn’t a lot of places to give you information – it’s one thing reading stuff online.

“Gemma is wanting to give birth first and I was wanting to go after, but we’ll have to see how it goes.”