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'Win A Baby' competition on Canadian radio station condemned

12 September 2011
Appeared in BioNews 624

A Canadian radio station has caused shock by announcing a competition in which contestants will compete for the chance to win a baby. The event is even being promoted by an advert featuring a baby holding up a sign saying 'Win me!'

The winner of Hot 89.9's competition will receive three rounds of IVF treatment free of charge. Hot 89.9 claims that the retail value of the 'prize' is approximately $35,000 CAD. To win, the contestants must write a short, 100-word paragraph explaining why they want a child, and a panel of judges will decide which is the most convincing.

This new contest comes soon after the controversial 'IVF Lottery' planned by UK fertility charity To Hatch was publicly denounced by various organisations, as discussed in a comment piece in BioNews 619. Much the same has happened with this latest announcement in Canada, with Jim Hughes, president of Campaign Life Coalition, Canada's national pro-life organisation, labelling the stunt as 'appalling'.

'It just shows how far down the slippery slope we travelled thus far and it's a portent of what's to come', Hughes told He continued by saying how this competition undermines the value of life: 'It turns a child into a consumer product and encourages the trade in innocent human life'.

However the public response to Hot 89.9's competition has been mixed, with various people using social network sites, such as Facebook, to either condemn or support the event.

'Having a baby isn't a right, it's a privilege', Paul Grant, a former listener, criticised on Facebook. 'If you can't have a baby, try adopting an unwanted baby'. Another listener, Dawn Knuth added: 'I think the idea of telling your child – 'That's your radio station. We won you in a contest', is a bit ridiculous'.

Other listeners, such as Chantale McMullen, praised the station for helping those who couldn't afford the treatment. 'Thank you Hot 89.9 for giving those of us who want a baby so bad a chance to maybe have a dream come true', she commented.

Josie Geuer, program director for Hot 89.9, has largely defended its move by insisting this competition is tailored to the needs of its audience, most of whom are female and aged between 25 and 54. 'We wanted to give them the opportunity to have a baby of their own', she insisted.

The 'Win a Baby Contest' will run until Monday 10 October at 9 am.

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8 August 2011 - by Dr Anna Smajdor 
In 2007, the world's media reported - with various degrees of shock and disapproval - on a Big Brother-style TV programme being created in Holland. This was Big Brother with a bizarre twist: instead of a cash prize and a moment of minor celebrity, the winner would get ... a kidney. Fast forward to 2011. A similar media outcry has been provoked by the announcement by fertility charity To Hatch of a lottery where the prize is - not cash; not a kidney, but... fertility treatment...
11 July 2011 - by Dr Kimberley Bryon-Dodd 
A controversial lottery, offering 25,000 worth of IVF treatment as a prize, has been given the go ahead. The Gambling Commission has licensed To Hatch, a UK charity offering fertility advice, to sell tickets to win the fertility treatment in a monthly draw....
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Canadian Radio Win A Baby contest (User:115709 - 09/12/2013)
For Hot 89.9 in Canada, radio station games are a day to day thing. The latest grand prize in the sweepstakes, though, is bringing about quite the aggravation for some. Free IVF treatments are being presented as the prize for this radio competition.
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