Ethics group slams Post's IVF 'lottery' but editor denies it is a 'win a baby' competition

Birmingham
Post editor Fiona Alexander has been inundated with calls from couples
after launching a controversial campaign in which the paper is offering
to pay for IVF treatment.

The Trinity Mirror-owned paper is
offering to fund the fertility and investigations of four couples
chosen by fertility experts based on NHS criteria.

It follows a
report in which health secretary John Reid was pushing for all Primary
Care Trusts to fund one cycle of treatment per couple.

The Post
has launched a “Fertility Funding For All” campaign which aims to force
the implementation of the policy. The Post will publish a series of
in-depth articles on IVF treatment and, with the selected couples’
permission, will be documenting their progress throughout their
treatment.

Post editor Fiona Alexandra, said: “It has caused a huge amount of publicity.

“I
have had personal letters, calls and emails from hopeful readers and
after ITV featured our campaign it received more than 400 emails from
people both wanting to volunteer and singing our praises.

“This is not a win a baby competition, which it could be seen as.

We
are treating this sensitively and intelligently. We are doing what we
think the government should be doing and putting our money where our
mouth is.”

However, Josephine Quintavalle, director of public
interest group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, described the Post’s
campaign as an intrusive lottery.

“I think the creation of life in this way is worrying when it becomes a media game and a way to sell newspapers,” she said.

“IVF
is notoriously unsuccessful despite how people like to hype it up. I am
perfectly in favour of educating people about the causes of infertility
and what we can do about it without turning it into a lottery.”

Alexander
countered: “This was an awareness campaign, not a way to sell
newspapers and the whole IVF funding is already a lottery.

“Finally
we have managed to put infertility on the agenda nationally, human
interest changes attitudes and it raises awareness through the lives of
real people.”

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