Shocking and distasteful news emerged today that a charity ‘To Hatch’ has been granted a license by the Gambling Commission to run a lottery in which winners can scoop £25,000 worth of tailor-made treatments at one of five ‘top UK fertility clinics’. Tickets cost £20 each, can be bought on-line and may eventually be for sale in newsagents. The lottery is apparently open to all family types.
The climate that can turn human creation into a gambling game is one where the majority of fertility treatment takes place in the private sector, thus putting it out of the reach of huge portions of the population. In Belgium six cycles of IVF are funded by the State. In this country the NICE guidelines of three full cycles (to include frozen as well as fresh embryo transfers) is available only in very few areas. The postcode lottery – requiring no ticket and presenting a locked gate to most – means that only one cycle is available in most areas and in some there is no funding at all. This is a disgrace that adds significantly to the stress of one of the already most stressful of conditions, the inability to conceive a family.
There are many issues on which we would find ourselves in disagreement with Josephine Quintavalle of Comment on Reproductive Ethics but in this case her comment that ‘this (lottery) demeans the whole nature of human reproduction’ is spot on.