IVF Sweepstakes Sparks Debate in Britain

To HatchA British charity called To Hatch has garnered much media attention this week for its lottery-style contest in which the prize is a free cycle of in-vitro fertilization (IVF), the procedure that helps many women with fertility problems become pregnant.  The prize has a value of £25,000 (around $40,000) and would cover a single cycle of IVF, or other procedures the winners might require, such as surrogacy, donor eggs or sperm, or artificial insemination, up to the value of the prize amount.  Only residents of Great Britain are eligible to participate.

The charity is selling £20 (about $32) raffle tickets through its website, under a license agreement granted by the country’s Gambling Commission.  The contest is open to singles, as well as straight and gay couples. Identity verification, fertility counseling, and medical qualifications (including age) will be required of the winner, the charity said on a FAQ page of its website.  The contest launches July 30, and a winner will be chosen each month.

Some ethics groups expressed dismay at the contest.  Reuters reported:

Britain’s fertility regulator, The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority said using IVF as a prize was “wrong and entirely inappropriate.”

“It trivializes what is for many people a central part of their lives,” it added in a statement.

Josephine Quintavalle, from the campaign group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said “creation of human life should not be reduced to a public lottery … this demeans the whole nature of human reproduction.”

The charity responded that it welcomes the debate but stands behind its decision to offer hope to the estimated 1 in 7 British couples that experience infertility.  “We understand that there will be skepticism especially when this is a ground breaking global premiere…. We are extremely thankful that we have opened the debate on infertility globally and to highlight that infertility itself is a medical condition,” To Hatch’s website states.

(image via: http://to-hatch.co.uk)

Add a Comment

Tags: , , , | Categories: Parents News Now

Back To Parents News Now
  1. by Mrs Alexandra Robinson

    On July 27, 2011 at 6:19 am

    What a fantastic idea, to give infertile couples the opportunity to receive treatment that the NHS are struggling to comply with. I pay my National Insurance, for needed treatment and the NHS are working against the guide lines set out by NICE to give me what I need. This IVF Lottery has given me much hope and I most defiantly will be taking part in this.For any one that has any negative thoughts or idea’s about this IVF lottery have obviously not lived in peoples shoes such as my own! Life is about reproduction, every living thing on this planet is here to reproduce, not being able to reproduce naturally is a disability as much as loosing a limb (which is treated with artificial limbs). Heart or lung defects (that is treated with expensive medications or operations)… the list goes on, all at the national insurance payers expense. The national lottery helps charities with disability so why is this lottery any different? It is giving people like myself a little bit of hope. We are asked as a society not to discriminate against sex, race, religion, disability etc so there fore do not discriminate against us doing anything in our power to have a glimpse at parenthood. When you truly understand the devastation infertility brings with it, keep your negativity naivety and heartless thoughts to yourselves…….. until then……… I WISH…1. I wish you understood that infertility changes people. I am not the same person I was before I experienced it nor will I ever be that person again. If you keep waiting for me to “get back to my old self,” you will be frustrated. I am a new creature with new thoughts, dreams, aspirations, values, and beliefs. Please try and get to know the “new me”…maybe you will still like me. 2. I wish you would not be afraid to speak to me about my losses, my infertility, and to ask questions or if you can help. 3. If I cry or get emotional when we talk about them, I wish you knew that it isn’t because you have hurt me. The fact that I have suffered has caused my tears. You have allowed me to cry, and I thank you. Crying and emotional outbursts are healing. 4. I wish you wouldn’t pretend that nothing is happening to me, because it is a large part of my life. I need my friends and family by my side. 5. I will have emotional highs and lows, ups and downs. I wish you wouldn’t think that if I have a good day, my grief is over, or that if I have a bad day, I need psychiatric counseling. 6. Being an infertile person is not contagious, so I wish you wouldn’t shy away from me. 7. I wish you knew that all of the “crazy” grief reactions I am having are in fact very normal. Depression, anger, frustration, hopelessness, and questioning of values and beliefs are to be expected during and following what is happening to me. 8. I wish you wouldn’t expect my grief to be over if and when I become pregnant or have children. We struggle to accept the fact that with each attempt at a child, we will face the same fears, concerns and challenges. We will also never forget the pain of losing a dream. 9. I wish you would understand the physical reactions to grief. I may gain weight or lose weight…sleep all the time or not at all…want to surround myself with business or be all alone, all of which may be related to my grief. 10. My birthday, anniversaries of the failed pregnancies, holidays, and the days I find out that this cycle too was a bust, are all terrible times for me. I wish you could tell me that you are thinking about me, and if I get quite withdrawn, just know I am doing my best to cope. Please don’t try to coerce me into being cheerful or tell me that it will be better soon. 11. It is normal and good that most of us re-examine our faith, values, and beliefs throughout this journey. We will question things we have been taught all our lives, and hopefully come to some new understandings to include those with God. I wish you would let me tangle with my religion, opinions, and beliefs without making me feel guilty. 12. I wish you would not offer me drinks or drugs to ease the pain. These are just temporary crutches. The only way I can get through this grief is to experience it, and sometimes immerse myself in it. I have to hurt before I can heal. 13. I wish for those friends and family that are pregnant to understand that we are happy for them and our sadness/perhaps odd or distant behavior during this time is not personal but just a part of what we are grieving. 14. I wish that you will not avoid or stop calling because you don’t know what to say. Show me that you care and I can lean on you. 15. I wish that you would not judge the times that I am sad or find it hard to deal with things (like pregnancies and christenings). Infertility does not make us bad people just people in pain. 16. I wish you did not tire of my constant mood swings and ups and downs, but that you would just be there when ever I was ready to talk. 17. I wish you would not judge the decisions I choose to make. Keep an open and supportive mind and respect my thoughts and actions. 18. I wish you would do the best you can to put yourself in my shoes and think about what you would do and how you would feel and use that as your guide to support me. 19. I wish that you pray for me to have strength and guidance and that this pain will subside. 20. I wish you would not try to offer solutions. Trust me, we have been searching for the answer with all the effort our souls. 21. Infertility is not a punishment for unrighteousness or a consequence of having done something “wrong.” It is an unfortunate side effect of being human and a recognized medical condition. 22. I wish you could see that the goal is not to “get pregnant.” It is to have a healthy baby and eventually the family that we crave. 23. I wish everyone knew that I do not judge them. There are many things which are part of life and I understand that life carries on. People face different choices and I will do my best to be there to love and support even if the situation is as far from my own as can possibly be imagined. When I discovered I was infertile I didn’t lose my sense of human compassion. 24. I wish I had never had to write this and that people already knew about infertility and knew that it is ok to talk about it. If someone had a crisis then you would ask how they were doing – that’s what infertility is, a life crisis, and just asking doesn’t mean you will find yourself in an uncomfortable position, it will just show that you care enough to ask. 25. I wish people didn’t exclude me from things just because I am not a Mother. Not having children does not mean that I do not understand unconditional love! I am not an alien because I cannot have children and I am not to be feared or looked at like I have two heads. I did not choose to be infertile and I do not choose to remain childless.