Is having a baby really such a big gamble? English company To Hatch would have you think so. They are launching the world’s first IVF lottery in Britain giving gamblers, er I mean prospective parents the chance to “win” a baby.
Yes, you read that correctly. It is a lottery, a game of chance and for the equivalent of £20 (around $30) you can buy a ticket to enter for your chance to win £25,000 ($37,000) in fertility treatments at one of Britain’s top clinics*.
A Gambling Commission licence has been granted so clearly they have the legal side covered, it’s just the ethical angle that remains open to debate.
It is an open competition. You can buy a ticket if you are single, married, heterosexual, gay, elderly or young – just as long as you have £20. You don’t have to show any proof of income, responsibility or ability to raise children, but then again you don’t have to prove any of that before conceiving a child naturally or applying for conventional fertility treatment. Fertility counseling is compulsory for all winners.
According to The Sun
Draws in the contest will be monthly at first but could be expanded to every two weeks.
Winners will be whisked by a chauffeur to the clinic, where accommodation is also included.
They will also get a mobile phone so they can maintain contact with medics at all times.
If standard IVF fails, they will be offered donor eggs, reproductive surgery – or even a surrogate birth.
Fertility doctors at each centre will use their clinical judgment to establish the feasibility of each possible pregnancy.
If a woman is fit but over 45 – the upper limit for UK NHS fertility treatment – they are likely to suggest donor eggs.
Should a single woman or man win, they will be provided with donor sperm or a surrogate mum and donor embryo.
Camille Strachan, founder and chair of the charity, who has undergone fertility treatment herself, said she wanted to create the “ultimate wish list” for those struggling with the stress of being unable to conceive. She defended what could be a hugely profitable lottery, saying 40 per cent would be paid as tax, 25 per cent directed back into her charity, and 10 per cent spent on administration. She said she would give herself an undisclosed sum after the money was distributed.
And now there is talk of Ms Strachan bringing the lottery to Australia but Australian IVF clinics have already sought to distance themselves from any potential involvement in the promotion.
Louise Johnson, chief executive of Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority has said “a marketing exercise like this could backfire because it’s no guarantee that the winner of such a lottery would be suitable for IVF treatment.” Sydney IVF medical director Mark Bowman said the competition trivialised an important issue affecting thousands of Australians and Dr Lyndon Hale, chairman of the Fertility Society of Australia joined in saying “In terms of selling a gimmick and doing something that’s medically wrong, we wouldn’t be a part of something that ‘gimmick-ised’.”
I’m guessing you aren’t going to enter this lottery unless you desperately want a child. But the question remains, is using IVF as a prize inappropriate ?
Is it a fair prize to offer people who desperately want a child and may not be able to afford the huge costs associated with fertility treatment? Or is it cheapening human reproduction and dehumanising the parenting journey ?*The actual prize is to win 1 cycle of fertility treatment and concierge services only. This means that a person or couple would win 1 cycle of IUI or IVF or ICSI or Donors or Surrogacy. The winner will not have all treatments carried out at the same time. They are catering to a wide spectrum of unique potential winners and locations and as such have catered for these options within the £25,000 Prize Worth