Couples in Northern Ireland claim they are being discriminated against as they are only offered one cycle of IVF treatment on the NHS. This is in comparison to the two or three available in the rest of the UK.
The Northern Ireland Assembly has approved a motion calling on the health minister to fund three cycles of IVF treatment for couples struggling to become pregnant.
It is estimated that only one in five couples conceive in the first cycle, which in 2004 led to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommending that three cycles should be provided.
Health Minister, Mr Edwin Poots, has said he is unable to commit to offering the recommended three cycles of IVF because of funding limitations. With each round costing £3,500, increasing the number of cycles provided on the NHS 'could severely limit the number of women who could access the service'.
In Scotland three cycles are available on the NHS, and in Wales two cycles are offered. In England, it varies.
Conall McDevitt, of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, said this is an issue that 'goes to the heart of equality legislation which affects couples seeking to become parents and who are being discriminated against in this region relative to other parts of the United Kingdom', warning that Northern Ireland will 'further fall behind the standards of IVF treatment provided in other member states of the EU and further fall behind many other parts of the United Kingdom' if action isn't taken.
Sharon Seymour, who suffered 14 miscarriages, and had to fight for a second round of IVF, believes it should be more widely available. She told UTV (Ulster television): 'Everybody that wants to be a parent has the right to be a parent and have a family. No ministers should stand in their way'.