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Test Tube Baby Lottery


THE world's first IVF lottery has launched in Britain this month - giving gamblers the chance to "win" a baby.

The controversial game, newly granted a Gambling Commission licence, will see players buy £20 tickets online.

The winner will net £25,000 fertility treatments at one of the country's top clinics.

The lottery will offer the chance to become a parent every single month.

The game looks sure to provoke a huge ethical debate.

IVF ... egg is fertilised by sperm
IVF ... egg is fertilised by sperm

With no bars on entry, single, gay and elderly players will be free to take part in the lotto - the first of its type worldwide.

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.

Profits will be ploughed back into a charity called To Hatch, which provides online support for childless couples and those experiencing trouble conceiving.

If the game proves a success, tickets could eventually be sold in newsagents nationwide.

But the scheme seems certain to start a huge debate, particularly among religious groups who might view it as "selling" precious human life.

Josephine Quintavalle, of ethical dilemma group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said  "This demeans the whole nature of human reproduction.

"Creation of human life should not be reduced to a public lottery. Instead of this, shouldn't more be spent on research into fertility problems?"

To Hatch founder Camille Strachan said she set up the organisation to help those battling through the infertility minefield.

She said many NHS trusts had axed IVF due to budget restrictions and thousands of couples could not afford the £5,000-a-time treatment.

Ms Strachan said: "We hope the To Hatch Lottery can ease the burden of the NHS and reduce the stress slightly on some of those who are struggling."

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12th August 2011, 13:16
Page updated 5th Oct 2015, 13:25
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