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Prison lifer wants fertility treatment

8 March 2010
Appeared in BioNews 548

A drug dealer serving a life sentence is awaiting a Government decision on whether he can have artificial insemination, after being granted permission by prison bosses. Scott Hurford, 34, who has 25 years of his sentence left to serve, was told by Wandsworth prison that he can apply for artificial insemination, but the final decision will be taken by Justice Minister Jack Straw MP.

Mr Hurford told prison managers that he wants to begin the process of 'becoming a father' with his Thai girlfriend Uria as 'soon as possible'. In a letter from his cell, Mr Hurford said: 'I am serving a very lengthy sentence and still have over ten years left until release. My partner has stood by me and we would like to start a family, however time isn't exactly on our side with me being 34 and my partner 37. I need some advice on the rules for IVF treatment whilst in prison. Is this possible? Has it been done before? How do I set the wheels in motion?'

A Prison Service spokesperson said today: 'Prisoners may apply for access to artificial insemination facilities. Each request will be considered on individual merit against a number of considerations and any information which the applicants wish to provide in support of their application'.

The Prison Service considers various factors when deciding whether to permit fertility treatment, including the woman's age and how long the couple has been together. Its main concern is the 'welfare of the child who might be conceived', but it also needs to know who would pay for the treatment given it could be a lengthy process costing between £4,000 and £8,000 for each attempt.

Mr Hurford is not the first prisoner to apply for artificial insemination. In 2007, Kirk Dickson was awarded £18,000 in damages and costs after the European Court of Human Rights decided the British government had violated his right to father a child by not allowing him and his wife Lorraine to have artificial insemination while he was in prison for murder.

In October 2008, it was reported that a Spanish woman, Elena Beloki, currently serving a 13-year prison sentence for her involvement with the Basque separatist organization, Eta, had been granted permission to receive IVF.

Mr Hurford received a 30-year sentence after being caught in the possession of 250 amphetamine tablets in Thailand in 2005. After being sentenced in 2006, he was sent to Bangkok's Bangkwang prison where he served five years before being extradited back to the UK in November last year.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Lag plans family from inside jail
The Sun |  4 March 2010
Prisoner applies to become first man to father child behind bars
The Telegraph |  5 March 2010
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