Last year, a convicted murderer serving his sentence in prison claimed that by the time he was released, his wife – whom he had met through a penpal network and subsequently married whilst she was in jail for benefit fraud – would be too old to bear his children by the time he was released. The prisoner, Kirk Dickson took his case to the European Court of Human Rights arguing that he should be allowed to donate his sperm for his wife to undergo IVF treatment. Incredibly, the Court ruled that it was unlawful for Dickson to be denied this treatment.
This week, at Swaleside Prison on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, a notices were posted inviting prisoners to complete a “Prisoner Access to IVF Treatment” form, although Prisons Minister David Hanson apparently knew nothing about the move, stating that it had yet to be approved by Government.
For many couples unable to conceive by other means, invitro fertilisation treatment is the last hope. Yet the ‘postcode lottery’ nature of our health service means some areas don’t even recognise the problem, whilst the treatment is straightforward in other parts of the country.
Nevertheless, prisoners can now apply for IVF at around £3000 per treatment – and the British taxpayer foots the bill. Some years ago I campaigned nationally against elderly people in intermediate care being denied free TV licences, whilst prisoners received them for free.
When will this Labour Government started to respect decent, honest taxpayers?