A charitable organization in Britain has caused a stir after it announced last week that it would be holding a contest in which winners are provided with thousands of dollars' worth of fertility treatment.
To Hatch, a charity started in 2010 that offers advice to those affected by infertility, will be selling tickets starting July 30.
In several draws to be held, winners will be awarded more than $40,000 in fertility treatments.
The competition is open to married, single, homosexual, and elderly participants.
Critics have blasted the organization for what some see as an unethical venture, saying the so-called “baby lottery” is demeaning to women and cheapens human life.
The idea of holding such a contest is “disrespectful both of human beings, and the appropriate way of bringing about human beings, which should be through acts of unifying love,” Anthony McCarthy, of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children told Life Site News.
To Hatch founder Camille Strachan says she launched the contest to help combat what she sees as budget cuts by the National Health Service for in vitro fertilization.
“We hope the To Hatch Lottery can ease the burden on the NHS and reduce the stress slightly on some of those who are struggling,” Strachan said in a statement on To Hatch's website.
The British Fertility Society also finds the contest troubling, saying in a statement, “Although access to effective fertility treatment on the NHS remains patchy, and expensive for those who take the private route, we cannot condone this kind of activity.”
Josephine Quintavalle, of Comment on Reproductive Ethics, wonders if the lottery isn't outright illegal.
“Turning the process of reproduction into a buy-your-ticket lottery is absolutely unacceptable and quite possibly breaks European Law on the commercialization of human tissue,” she said in a scathing statement.
Strachan says she doesn't see why people who are desperate to have children should have to suffer under budgetary cuts. She insists the lottery serves a necessary purpose, saying, "If I didn't think this was right, I wouldn't have launched it."
Tickets for the contest will be sold on To Hatch's website and priced at about $32.
Winners will be provided with transportation services and accommodation at a hotel during the time of their treatment.
Where IVF is not possible for winners, egg donation, reproductive surgery, or surrogate birth might be offered.
“If you look at the claims that are being made, if you won and you were not eligible for IVF, they will offer surrogate motherhood, embryos and eggs, so they are actually involving other parties as well,” Quintavalle told the Daily Mirror. “I do not see how they could have got this past the Gambling Commission.”
According to an investigative report by the Daily Mail published July 10, no British clinics have actually agreed to take part in the lottery. The news agency speculates that winners might have to be treated abroad.
Strachan told the publication that she has three foreign “top” clinics that have agreed to participate, but refrained from naming those facilities.