Fury over 'Win a Baby' Offer to Couples in Fertility Clinic Contest

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), August 10, 2014 | Go to article overview

Fury over 'Win a Baby' Offer to Couples in Fertility Clinic Contest


Byline: Kate Foster

SCOTS couples are being offered the chance to 'win a baby' in a controversial competition run by a foreign fertility clinic.

In a move that has been heavily criticised by the UK's fertility watchdog, the clinic is offering free IVF treatment or egg donation as a prize.

The contest - featuring what the organisers describe as a 'fantastic' prize for one 'lucky' winner - is being run to attract infertile couples to a conference in Edinburgh advertising the services of a Spanish fertility clinic based in Barcelona.

The IVF treatment, which normally costs around PS5,500, is being offered to couples who attend an information event run by Scottish experts with links to the private clinic. Whoever wins the prize can choose either to take a free cycle of IVF or receive a free egg from an anonymous donor.

Last night, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the UK's fertility watchdog, said it had 'real concerns' that the move would 'trivialise' treatment.

However, since the clinic where the treatment will take place is overseas, the HFEA has no powers to put a stop to the scheme.

One in seven couples suffers from fertility problems at some point. Treatment for those who want to attempt IVF is available on the NHS or privately.

However, the NHS has long waiting times and private treatment is expensive, costing from around PS3,000 per attempt.

Scottish couples also face a waitingtimes 'postcode lottery' depending on where they live.

A report published last year found waits of between three months and three-and-a-half years for free treatment on the NHS.

Some overseas clinics offer cheaper and faster treatment, particularly for those who need egg donors.

But there are concerns about how clinics in other countries are regulated.

The competition is being organised by a team of Scottish fertility experts which has links to the Barcelona IVF clinic, where the treatment will take place.

The Scottish organisation, Fertility Focus, offers alternative therapies to boost fertility and has teamed up with Barcelona IVF, which offers private treatment to couples who are willing to travel abroad.

The competition is being used as an incentive to attract infertile couples to attend a conference in Edinburgh next month.

Dr Raul Olivares, director of Barcelona IVF, will be speaking at the event, which is being held at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in the capital on September 6. …

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