Enter the IVF lottery to win fertility treatment

Plans to launch the world’s first IVF lottery in the UK have been condemned by The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which regulates clinics.

IVF Lottery - Ms Strachan To Hatch

Lottery licence granted for IVF Raffle. Photograph Waytu

Raffle ticket for IVF

The UK charity, To Hatch, has just been granted a license by the Gambling Commission, allowing it to sell lottery tickets online.

IVF award details

  • £25,000 of tailored fertility treatment
  • Enter by buying £20 tickets online from the end of July 2011
  • UK’s top clinics to be involved, although they have not yet been named
  • The first winner will be picked September 18th 2011

Who will enter

Camille Strachan, the founder of To Hatch, has told the media that the lottery is more like a raffle, open to single, gay and older people as well as couples who have not been able to conceive.  The recommended number of IVF cycles for couples who meet the criteria is 3 free cycles. However, many NHS trusts offer less or no IVF cycles at all. Faced with expensive private treatment, some couples have moved home to access IVF treatment.

Fertility charity

To Hatch, which Ms Strachan registered as a charity last November, will receive 20 per cent of the ticket sales. Ms Strachan set up the charity following her own experience of IVF where she found the NHS system to be very confusing. ” Time and time again I hear stories of people maxing out the credit cards and re-mortgaging their home because they can’t get access to IVF through the NHS. This is not a wacky stunt; it is about helping people desperate people who cannot afford to go privately,” she said.

Regulator unimpressed

An HFEA spokesman said: “We are strongly of the view that using IVF as ‘prize’ in a lottery is wrong and entirely inappropriate. It trivialises what is for many people a central part of their lives. We will be in touch with the charity concerned and the centres that seem to be involved to ensure they are aware of our view.”

Opportunity or gimmick

Fertility coach, Lisa Marsh, says that the IVF lottery offers couples struggling to fund private IVF treatment an:

“amazing opportunity to win £25,000 in treatment and associated perks. I foresee IVF Lottery tickets appearing on wedding gift registries and in Christmas card envelopes.”

She says, “the IVF Lottery promotes some sort of human trafficking, as if a woman is plucked off the street and offered £20 for the use of her eggs or womb. In actuality, all participants would still be subject to the regulations and medical ethics in force in the UK, including those on compensation.”

“While I don’t doubt Strachan’s sincerity in trying to help people who want to have a child, the controversy over the IVF Lottery is useful in itself.  If the IVF Lottery goes ahead as planned, it will undoubtedly continue to provoke increased public awareness and opinion of infertility and focus more attention on the inequitable delivery of fertility treatment in the UK.”


The Independent, IVF Lottery Inappropriate, July 2011


Waytu @ Flickr


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