British 'To Hatch' fertility lottery offers chance to have baby as top prize

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(CBS) - A British lottery set to take place at the end of this month has sparked outrage over its controversial prize -a chance to have a baby.

Dubbed "win a baby" by British tabloids, a fertility charity called To Hatch announced it would run a monthly lottery where people can purchase a 20 pound ticket online (about $32 USD) in the hopes of winning 25,000 pounds (roughly $40,000) toward fertility treatments.

The lottery is open to anyone over the age of 18 that wants to have a child - even single people. Single men and women that win can be provided with a surrogate mother and donor eggs or sperm. Lucky winners will be put up in a swank hotel before being driven by a chauffeur to a fertility treatment center.

The British Gambling Commission recently granted a license for the charity to run the event, triggering condemnations from medical and ethical groups across the pond.

"The HFEA is strongly of the view that using IVF as a 'prize' in a lottery is wrong and entirely inappropriate," a spokesman for the British watchdog organization, Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority, said in a written statement. "It trivializes what is for many people a central part of their lives."

Josephine Quintavalle, spokesman for Comment on Reproductive Ethics, agreed. "The more one looks at it, the more one is horrified," he told The Daily Mail. "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."

But the lottery's creator, Camille Strachan, disagrees with theses assessments as someone who herself, had struggled to conceive. She told Reuters the lottery is an "ultimate wish list" for those struggling to conceive in light of recent government budget cuts.

"The license couldn't have come at a better time with drastic (government health service) budget cuts ... where in most cases IVF is the first on the hit list, rendering most couples resorting to private treatment," she said.

In the U.S. almost 12 percent of women have an impaired ability to get pregnant, while 8 percent of married women are infertile. According to the American Pregnancy Assocation, over six million Americans are infertile, and couples usually find out after attempting to conceive for at least a year.

Do you think a fertility lottery would work in the U.S.? Tell us what you think.