Britain’s first IVF lottery is set to launch later this month giving players the chance to win a baby, but critics have branded the contest as ‘exploitative’.
The controversial lottery, which has now been granted a licence by the Gambling Commission, will see players spending £20 on each ticket.
The contest will be open to anyone, including single people, homosexuals and elderly players.
Each month a winner will receive £25,000 worth of tailor-made fertility treatments. They may even be offered donor eggs or a surrogate mother.
The contentious lottery is going to be run by To Hatch, a charity which offers fertility advice to couples seeking IVF.
But Josephine Quintavalle, from the campaign group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, warned that “turning the process of reproduction into a buy-your-ticket lottery, is absolutely unacceptable and quite possibly breaks European Law on the commercialisation of human tissue.
“By all accounts, this lottery offers not just a chance to have IVF treatment but also promises access to surrogate wombs, spare embryos, egg and sperm donors.
“It is in this area where an immediate investigation should be demanded. It is surely not legal to pay £20 to have access to another woman’s womb?”
Dr Gillian Lockwood, director of Midland Fertility Service, said: “This sounds like a rather exploitative way of drawing attention to their website.”
She added: “People should be spending their £20 on good nutrition if they are having problems conceiving, not a ticket for this lottery.”
And a statement from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority said that it was “strongly of the view that using IVF as a ‘prize’ in a lottery is wrong and entirely inappropriate”.
If the lottery proves popular it could take place once a fortnight
However Camille Strachan, the founder of To Hatch, said: “We will offer struggling couples a completely tailor-made service. We hope the To Hatch Lottery can ease the burden on the NHS and reduce stress slightly on some of those who are struggling.”
Earlier this year an Oxford University ethicist argued that human embryos should be screened for their potential intelligence and only the smartest allowed to live.