It’s been said that a lottery system in the form of a game of keno was used to fund the building of the Great Wall of China so many thousands of years ago. Since then, cities and governments have run one type of lottery or another in order to bring much needed money into state coffers, to build schools and clinics, to benefit charities… the list goes on. Today, the lottery industry rolls over literally billions of dollars each year, and many, many people win life-changing sums of cash in regular lottery wins such as Euro Millions, Oz Lotto and more.
There was the recent case of a lottery, which was – in my humble opinion of course – taken too far. The UK Gambling Commission granted a unique license to a charity, To Hatch, to offer lottery tickets online, with the grand prize being…. $25,000 worth of tailor made fertility treatment at one of the top IVF clinics in the country. Now, theoretically, I don’t know why I have a problem with this. After all, if my partner and I couldn’t have kids and couldn’t afford IVF treatment, then a lottery such as this would be our only hope. But somehow, I feel vaguely uncomfortable with running a lottery where the ultimate prize is … a kid!
Another thing I find unsettling about this type of lottery is that it is open to everyone – not just couples. Single men or women are allowed to buy a GBP 20 ticket and if they win, they’ll be offered all the services required to have a baby. For example, a single man winner will be offered the services of a surrogate mother or donor embryo. The winner will be offered accommodation in a luxury hotel, be chauffeured to the clinic and even given cell phone services to be in contact with their doctor.
I’m not the only one who seems to have a problem with this type of lottery. Ethics experts are slamming the entire project, with one commenting: “It is surely not legal to pay GBP 20 to have access to another woman’s womb?!”
Food for thought, huh?