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US couples compete in competition to win free IVF

American fertility clinic holds contest selecting three couples out of 45 to win a free cycle of IVF

Posted: 21 June 2012
by Sophie Westnedge

A controversial contest in the US has seen 45 couples compete to win a free IVF cycle, reports TIME magazine.

The contest called the “I Believe Video Journal Project”, run by Sher Fertility Insitute in Las Vegas, offered couples who were struggling to have a baby the chance to change their lives. 

To enter the competition couples had to submit a video about their experiences of infertility. Judges decided which videos would be submitted to the clinic for consideration and then the videos were displayed on Facebook for the public to vote for the winners.

Erica Tabke, who runs infertility support website IVF Connection, was asked to participate as a judge but declined. She said that choosing which couples would win the round of free IVF was like “playing God”.

“Who’s more worthy? Whose loss is more tragic? Who are any of us to judge each other?” Erica said.

One of the winners, Melissa Costa-Lac, was so shocked to find out she and her husband had won she “pulled over to the side of the road on her drive home, put her head on the steering wheel and cried”, reports TIME. The video Melissa submitted revealed she had suffered three failed adoptions, five miscarriages, and the stillbirth of a full-term baby boy.

This is the clinic’s second contest and the winner of the first, an essay writing competition in December, is now pregnant with twins.

Dr. Geofrey Sher, who heads up the network of Sher Clinics, said the IVF competitions raise awareness about the difficulties couples face with infertility and called the giveaways a “real feel good operation”.

Three couples have won the chance to try for a baby, but 42 couples are left disappointed. What do you think of the contest?

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