The influencers who fought for equal IVF access for same-sex couples

Megan and Whitney tell Health Editor Emily Morgan about their fight for equal access to IVF

An influencer couple credited with bringing about one of the most significant changes to IVF access have said their achievement has "blindsided" them "in the best of ways."

Known to their social media followers as 'Wegan', married couple Whitney and Megan Bacon-Evans have long campaigned for equal access to fertility services, regardless of sexuality.

And just last month, the government announced it will drop its policy to make same-sex couples pay for up to 12 rounds of artificial insemination before they can qualify for IVF.

"I get this email and I'm like, 'Am I reading this right?'," Whitney, who lives with her wife in Windsor, Berkshire, told ITV News.

It was the most overwhelming feeling. I literally can’t believe what was rolled blindsided us in the best of ways," she said.

The Bacon-Evanses, who've been together for 13 years, started campaigning after being told they'd have to shell out thousands of pounds before becoming eligible for IVF.

They've taken legal action against their area's commissioning group, Frimley, which decides local health policy.

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"It’s been called a 'gay tax'," Whitney said, whereas Megan said she's been made to feel like a "second class citizen".

"It's the unfair financial burden which is the discrimination - same-sex couples are being forced to pay a large amount of money that heterosexual couples aren't," Megan added.

The pair hope their action will force Frimley to change its policy sooner than April, which is when the government implements its new IVF rules.

Even if it does - same-sex couples who do end up needing IVF will still be at the mercy of the so-called 'postcode lottery' facing all couples.

'It's shocking': Megan (left) and Whitney (right) on the long-standing inequality they campaigned to end

NICE recommends women under 40 should be offered three full cycles of IVF and one if they're between 40 and 42 But, according to the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, just 20% of commissioning groups follow that guidance.

A staggering 80% don't offer three cycles, the Vale of York, Telford and Wrekin and Somerset give just one.

Dr Carole Gilling-Smith, director of The Agora Clinic, a fertility clinic in Sussex, insists IVF should be offered to "everybody".

Nearly 15% of her patients are same-sex couples , who she says don't cost the NHS more than straight people do.

"The volume of patients we’re going to see is going to be larger, but I think it's not a major cost issue and I think the NHS needs to look at fertility as a medical issue," she said.

The Agora Clinic, a fertility centre in Sussex.

The government's promise to improve fertility for all women and stamp out regional differences is undoubtedly something to celebrate. However, there are some still fighting for parity.

Joyce Harper, a professor in reproductive science at University College London, said: "For same-sex male couples, they have a much more expensive fertility journey because they need an egg donor, they need a surrogate.

"They have a larger bill but they’re equivalent to same-sex female couples in wanting to have a family."

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Stephen Barclay said: "There are needs of men and different groups of men that need to be reflected in commissioning decisions."

However, he said that through the government changing its policy on IVF, they've rightly recognised "there has been a gap in prioritisation of commissioners".