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Illume Fertility Named 2024 LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader

Illume was the only free-standing fertility center given the Healthcare Equality Leader designation in the New England region.

May 7th, 2024 | 6 min. read

By Sierra Dehmler

As a fertility practice dedicated to providing inclusive fertility and family-building care for all, we are honored to be recognized by the Human Rights Campaign for our seventh year.

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Leading the Way in LGBTQ+ Healthcare

We are proud to announce that Illume Fertility has again earned the "LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader" designation from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2024 Healthcare Equality Index.

This special designation was awarded in the 16th edition of HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), released May 7, 2024. Of the healthcare providers included, Illume Fertility was the only free-standing fertility center given the HEI designation in New England.

A record 1,065 healthcare facilities actively participated in the HEI 2024 survey and scoring process. However, of those participants, only 384 received the top score of 100, earning the “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader” designation.

We are honored to be named one of those top LGBTQ+ care providers for a seventh year.

“We are proud to be a nationwide leader in equitable LGBTQ+ reproductive healthcare,” said Suha Buckey, Managing Director at Illume Fertility. “As the only free-standing fertility center in the New England region to hold the HEI designation, patients across the LGBTQ+ spectrum flock to Illume to receive exceptional fertility and family-building care in an inclusive, welcoming environment.”

What is the Human Rights Campaign Foundation?

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation is the education arm of America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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What criteria are used by the HRC?

The 16th edition of the HEI assesses participants on four criteria:

  1. Non-Discrimination and Staff Training
  2. Patient Services and Support
  3. Employee Benefits and Policies
  4. Patient and Community Engagement

In the 2024 report, an impressive 384 facilities earned HRC’s “LGBTQ Health Care Equality Leader” designation, receiving the maximum score possible in each section and earning an overall score of 100. Illume Fertility is proud to have received this top score for a seventh year.

With a record 1065 participants in the 2024 HEI survey, health care facilities are demonstrating concretely that they are going beyond the basics when it comes to adopting policies and practices in LGBTQ+ care.

The State of LGBTQ+ Rights in 2024

This year’s HEI comes as LGBTQ+ adults are twice as likely as non-LGBTQ+ adults to be “treated unfairly or with disrespect by a doctor or healthcare provider” in the last three years, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

According to the 2024 HEI executive summary report, "During the HEI 2024 survey cycle, which spanned 2022 and 2023, nearly 900 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were introduced in more than 40 states across the country, and over 100 of them were passed and signed into law." 

The impact of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation combined with a long history of discrimination in healthcare settings often leads LGBTQ+ patients to delay or avoid seeking medical attention, which makes the HEI even more salient for those looking to find LGBTQ-inclusive care.

Key Highlights of the 2024 Healthcare Equality Index

Even with these legislative obstacles in mind, there has been significant progress, as highlighted in the 2024 HEI report

  • 71% of healthcare facilities now have an official plan for reducing health disparities that specifically includes LGBTQ+ patients in addition to race, ethnicity, and linguistic concerns.
  • Major increases have been seen in the number of healthcare facilities collecting sexual orientation and gender identity-related data in their Electronic Health Records systems, helping to reduce instances of misgendering patients.
  • 41% of healthcare facilities provide medical and comprehensive health benefits to domestic partners of benefits-eligible employees, up from 34% in 2022. This is the first increase in this measure since the 2015 Obergefell decision on same-sex marriage.
  • 92% of healthcare facilities took part in or supported one or more LGBTQ+ related events or initiatives in their service area.

While there is still much work to be done towards achieving complete equity in LGBTQ+ healthcare, we recognize and celebrate these markers of progress, and remain steadfast in our commitment to advocating on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community.

Why is Illume an LGBTQ+ leader?

While many fertility clinics offer basic treatments for LGBTQ+ individuals and couples, not all provide tailored care options that take the specific needs of the community into account.

At Illume Fertility, we take great pride in our dedication to not only being an LGBTQ-friendly healthcare provider, but in offering specialized support through our full team of experienced care providers.

Did you know? With a wide array of services and treatment pathways, like trans fertility preservation, IUI and IVF treatment, an in-house egg donor program, and dedicated third party reproduction team, Illume is uniquely positioned to serve LGBTQ+ patients.

“The LGBTQ+ community has always struggled against inequality in healthcare," said Dr. Mark Leondires, Illume Fertility's Medical Director and founder of Gay Parents To Be. "We are continually striving to prioritize inclusive, patient-centered care at Illume Fertility and are honored by the Human Rights Campaign's recognition." 

Meet Gay Parents To Be

Gay Parents To Be is a comprehensive resource hub and a starting point for LGBTQ+ fertility and family building, with the goal of providing accurate, up-to-date information to those seeking to expand their families or access reproductive healthcare.

In partnership with Illume Fertility, Gay Parents To Be offers free education and support to any individual or couple who identifies as part of the LGBTQ+ community.

Take the first step.

Discover free educational resources, financial guides for LGBTQ+ family building, and other tools can help you navigate your journey. 

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The Importance of LGBTQ-Inclusive Care

With LGBTQ+ rights and reproductive freedoms increasingly at risk in 2024, protecting access to inclusive fertility and family-building care is critical. This not only provides direct benefits to LGBTQ+ individuals and couples, but also offers broader societal benefits of promoting equality, understanding, and respect for diversity.

Historically, LGBTQ+ individuals and couples have faced barriers in accessing health services, including fertility treatments. Worse yet, many still face discrimination in healthcare environments, which can lead to negative mental health outcomes.

Mitigating these issues by providing a supportive and understanding environment and recognizing the unique challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community is essential.  

Our Promise

Prioritizing inclusive fertility and family-building care sends a powerful message about the importance of diversity and inclusion in all aspects of society. It supports the idea that all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, should be able to pursue the dream of having a family.

As the landscape continues to shift, Illume remains committed to serving as a leader in LGBTQ+ healthcare, confident that other providers will follow suit and recognize the importance of increased inclusivity and equity in the fertility space.

Sierra Dehmler

Sierra Dehmler is Illume Fertility’s Content Marketing Manager - and also a fertility patient herself. Combining empathy gained on her personal journey with her professional experience in marketing and content creation, she aims to empower and support other fertility patients by demystifying the fertility treatment process.

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