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Prisoner given green light to continue IVF treatment

12 July 2010
Appeared in BioNews 566

An Australian Supreme Court has allowed a woman to continue with her self-funded IVF treatment, after she was given an 18-month jail term for fraud last November. The court heard that the woman, Ms Kimberley Castles, a mother-of-two had begun IVF treatment for 'age-based infertility' at a clinic in Melbourne before her imprisonment.

Her lawyer argued that she should be allowed to continue, because she will turn 46 in December, which is the cut-off point for treatment at the clinic. Her legal team argued this would be an infringement of her human rights because infertility is a recognised condition. Being unable to continue with her treatment would compromise her reproductive health, they said.

The prison where Ms Castles is being held was reluctant to grant permission for her treatment, because they were concerned that her IVF visits would be difficult to coordinate and other prisoners may become jealous. However, Justice Dr Karin Emerton has now given Ms Castles the right to apply for a permit each time she needs to leave the prison for treatment.

This particular case is seen as representing a unique set of circumstances, which may not have a bearing on future court cases. However, an Australian newspaper, The Age, reported that Ms Rachel Ball (a human rights lawyer) said 'This case reaffirms that people don't lose their human rights when they go to prison'.

This follows other similar cases that have been brought by people around the world, such as the British prisoner whose request for the right to have IVF treatment was turned down by the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) in April 2006.

Back in Australia, Ms Castles was reported to be elated, and quoted as saying 'thank you, thank you' to her legal team.

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Prisoner wins access to IVF
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Prisoner wins right to continue IVF treatment
ABC News |  9 July 2010
4 March 2013 - by Michelle Downes 
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has pledged to stop prisoners getting access to IVF treatment at the taxpayer's expense....
10 September 2012 - by Dr Mary Yarwood 
The recent news reports that Ammar Zibden, a Palestinian imprisoned in Israel, has managed to smuggle his sperm out of prison and become a father highlight a number of problematic issues...
11 July 2011 - by Kyrillos Georgiadis 
An Australian man is seeking to overturn a ruling barring him and his partner from accessing IVF on the grounds of his previous conviction in 2003 for having sex with a 16-year-old student while he was employed as a teacher's aide....
20 June 2011 - by Dr Mary Yarwood 
The anger generated by the knowledge that in the UK only one prisoner since 2007 has been granted access to artificial insemination (AI) shows there is very little public support for prisoners starting a family while behind bars...
6 June 2011 - by Ben Jones 
A public inquiry has been launched by the UK's Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke after a newspaper's freedom of information request revealed a prisoner was granted permission to provide sperm for use in artificial insemination with his partner while in custody...
8 March 2010 - by Kyrillos Georgiadis 
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...
19 January 2009 - by Dr Anna Smajdor 
In October 2008, it was reported that a Spanish woman, Elena Beloki, had been granted permission to receive IVF treatment. Beloki is currently serving a 13-year prison sentence for her involvement with the Basque separatist organisation, Eta. Her fertility treatment will be carried out while on bail, and will...
24 April 2006 - by BioNews 
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that a British man who is serving a life sentence in prison for murder does not have the right to be allowed access to IVF treatment. Thirty-four year old Kirk Dickson alleged that the UK Government had breached his right to...
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