Fertility doctors attack 'unethical' £20 IVF raffle

Top UK clinics refuse to participate in charity game to win a single cycle of treatment

A nationwide lottery offering couples the chance to win fertility treatment was strongly criticised last night. Fertility experts described the initiative as the "start of a slippery slope".

At its launch yesterday, a UK-based charity offered people – couples or singles of both sexes – the chance to win £25,000 for a round of IVF treatment at a "top clinic", in return for a £20 ticket.

The lottery is being organised by the charity To Hatch, founded by Camille Strachan, 38, to help people who are struggling to conceive. The winner of the lottery, which is licensed by the UK Gambling Commission, will be randomly selected by a computer in September. Further monthly draws are then planned.

Ms Strachan says she hoped the lottery "can ease the burden on the NHS and reduce the stress on some of those who are struggling."

It is understood that a number of UK clinics have refused to participate, sparking rumours that a clinic in Barbados would be one of the destinations. Ms Strachan has declined to reveal which "top" clinics would offer the treatment.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) have criticised the move as "wrong and entirely inappropriate". They described it as running "counter to the ethos that underpins our regulatory system and clinical practice".

Dr Allan Pacey, a fertility expert at the University of Sheffield and a spokesperson for the British Fertility Society, said: "In my view it's a slippery slope to be dishing out healthcare like this, particularly when it comes to children. My mother and father used to say they found me under a gooseberry bush – can you imagine telling a child that he or she was won in a raffle?

"Ethics aside, I think it is precisely the current postcode lottery of NHS funding which makes this charity think it can make this venture a success. Couples either find they can't get access to NHS treatment or they get only a single attempt and therefore need to fund any further treatment privately if that is unsuccessful."

Despite criticism of the charity, public responses on internet chat forums were mixed. Although the majority expressed misgivings, hundreds of people indicated on Facebook and Twitter that they intended to buy tickets. Many took the view that the lottery is a good idea, given what is widely perceived as a cut in the provision of IVF treatment on the NHS.

A spokesman for the Gambling Commission, which regulates lotteries, said: "The commission plays no statutory role in judging ethical questions that fall outside of the Gambling Act 2005. A licence is granted if all the criteria are met."

Voices
voices
News
President Obama, one of the more enthusiastic users of the fist bump
newsBumping fists rather than shaking hands could reduce the spread of infectious diseases, it is claimed
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
News
newsHad asteroid hit earlier or later in history, the creatures might have survived, say scientists
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode
arts + ents
Sport
Laura Trott with her gold
Commonwealth GamesJust 48 hours earlier cyclist was under the care of a doctor
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
arts + entsFilmmaker posted a picture of Israeli actress Gal Gadot on Twitter
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Pedro Pascal gives a weird look at the camera in the blooper reel
arts + entsPrince Oberyn nearly sets himself on fire with a flaming torch
News
Danny Nickerson, 6, has received 15,000 cards and presents from well-wishers around the world
newsDanny loves to see his name on paper, so his mother put out a request for cards - it went viral
Sport
France striker Loic Remy
sportThe QPR striker flew to Boston earlier in the week to complete deal
News
Orville and Keith Harris. He covered up his condition by getting people to read out scripts to him
People
Arts and Entertainment
Zoe Saldana stars in this summer's big hope Guardians of the Galaxy
filmHollywood's summer blockbusters are no longer money-spinners
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Life and Style
Workers in Seattle are paid 100 times as much as workers in Bangladesh
fashionSeattle company lets customers create their own clothes, then click 'buy' and wait for delivery
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Credit Controller - Enfield

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Credit Controller - Enfield (North London / Hertfor...

    year 5 teacher

    £21000 - £32000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to wo...

    Supply Teacher

    £100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to have a b...

    Supply Teacher - Chelmsford

    £100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We urgently require Primar...

    Day In a Page

    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
    Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

    Edinburgh Fringe 2014

    The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried