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Britains ‘Baby Lottery: Emotional Cruelty Can Be Yours for the Price of a $32 Ticket

Baby lottery

Dangle the hope of a million dollars in front of someone's face, but not the hope of a very real baby

If you’ve ever struggled to conceive, then you don’t need to be told that it’s an emotional and heart-wrenching time. Wondering if you’ll ever give birth to the healthy baby that you’ve always dreamed of having can leave you thinking of little else.

That’s why my heart is breaking a little for those in the U.K. who might be trying to get pregnant without much success. A charity called To Hatch is launching a monthly contest beginning July 30 in which a $32 ticket will make you eligible to win $25,000 worth of personalized fertility treatments. The contest is open to everyone — single people, gay, elderly, straight and couples.

But like counting on winning the lotto jackpot to change your life, what is a contest like this really doing to everyone who won’t win (which is, realistically speaking, everyone) but enters anyway? Does someone going through the emotional trauma of infertility really need a contest like this to raise and then dash their hopes yet again?

Included in the prize each month is a stay in a luxury hotel, a chauffeur-driven ride to the treatment facility and the option of reproductive surgery, donor eggs, sperm or a surrogate birth if the IVF treatments fail to produce a pregnancy.

Understandably, some ethical and medical groups call the contest inappropriate, with the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority saying it “trivializes what is for many people a central part of their lives.”

To Hatch’s founder, however, argues the point is to create “the ultimate wish list” for people trying to conceive children naturally.

I don’t know that I’d call the IVF lotto unethical, but I would call it cruel. You’re not offering people money, you’re offering them an actual life, and as most parents will tell you, that’s more important and precious than anything money can buy. While the winning person each month will undoubtedly be thrilled to get the chance to undergo costly IVF treatments at no charge, can you imagine being one of the losers?

Would you enter a baby lottery like the one in Britain? Do you applaud the charity’s efforts, or do you think it causes more emotional pain than it’s worth?

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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