LONDON, July 23, 2004 ( – A proposed television reality show has pushed the boundaries of offence by offering a program in which a thousand men compete for the chance to impregnate a woman by IVF. It is unlikely that the production company, Brighter Pictures, will find a market in the UK; a spokesman for the BBC has already said, “It is absolutely not for the BBC.” In its coverage of the intended program, called Make Me A Mum, The Daily Mail has called the idea “sick” and “depraved.” The idea has been greeted with public expressions of revulsion from different quarters. At least one British Tory MP has condemned it as “unacceptable.”  Josephine Quintavalle, of Comment on Reproductive Ethics, (CORE), said, “I am disgusted. I have never heard of anything that has descended down the scale of bad taste quite like this.” CORE is a public interest group focusing on ethical dilemmas surrounding human reproduction, particularly the new technologies of assisted conception. Quintavalle said, “My first thoughts go to the child who will be created – what is he or she going to be told about how they were conceived? And how can any woman want to have a child in this way?”

The program will start with 1000 volunteers who will be selected by the woman on the basis of sex appeal, wealth, fitness and personality. The woman, who is not named, will take fertility drugs to stimulate the production of ova. One will be selected and fertilized by the winning man’s sperm by IVF clinicians live on television. The likelihood is that the idea will not pan out for practical reasons. The best IVF clinics in the world can boast, at most, a 15-25% success rate. The producers have approached German television broadcasters who they think will be more receptive to the idea.  Natalie Hudson, executive Director of Toronto Right to Life commented, “The culture’s adolescent fascination with sex has taken a step so low that even the apathetic media is reacting. The Roman Catholic Church warned some thirty years ago that in vitro procedures would turn the human person into a commodity. But even the Church never imagined that the conception of new life would be treated as a media spectacle. What’s next, or dare we ask?”  Read Daily Mail coverage:  ph