Debate: Should IVF Treatments Be a Contest Prize?

IVF treatments are an effective way to boost fertility, but they're awfully expensive. However, is it right to offer them as a contest prize?

Photography courtesy Hot 89.9 FM

While some radio stations will offer you cash, an iPad or tickets to a Michael Buble concert, Ottawa’s Hot 89.9 has a different plan: they’re offering listeners the chance to win a baby.

A baby? Well, yes and no…

The contest page on the station’s website says, “It is some people’s lifelong dream to conceive a baby, but not everyone can. If you’re in that situation The New Hot 89.9 is swooping in like a big beautiful stork to make your dreams of changing diapers a reality.” Translation: One lucky listener will receive three IVF treatments, which works out to around $35,000. The marketing for the contest is sensational, to say the least—there is no guarantee that the IVF will be a success—but the concept is an interesting one.

In order to enter the contest, listeners were required to fill out an application to explain why they’re in need of fertility treatments. And the top five finalists are not only required to have a reference from their family physician, but must also meet with fertility specialists for a consultation. In other words, it’s not exactly something they can just do on a whim. Where this contest gets particularly tricky, though, is the voting round. Once the top five finalists have been selected, the general public can vote for which one they think should win the grand prize. But how do you decide who should get the chance to potentially have a baby? What makes one person more deserving of that opportunity than another? And should we, the general public, even be making such decisions?

Much like the controversial “baby lottery” in Britain this summer, reactions to the contest have been mixed. We have to agree with infertility expert Jan Silverman, who told CBC News, “I certainly dislike the commodification of babies, turning babies into products. However, I am pleased that it brings attention to the plight, to the expense that infertile couples that require IVF must go through to have a baby.” If it gets people talking about infertility and the need for more IVF funding in Canada, can it really be such a bad thing?

What do you think about this contest? Will you be voting for a winner?

2 responses to “Debate: Should IVF Treatments Be a Contest Prize?”

  1. Sara says:

    Yes, not everyone can affort it. I would love to win one.

  2. Fed Up says:

    I agree with this part of this statement “I certainly dislike the commodification of babies, turning babies into products or the result of a contest” Really, is this what children are becoming? Win a baby contests?