Thug convicted of serious assault wins right to IVF treatment in jail
27th December 2018

Violent thug wins the right to fertility treatment while in jail: Convict could become father behind bars after winning human rights battle – despite rationing for law-abiding couples

  • Inmate was granted permission last year by then prisons minister Sam Gyimah
  • It’s thought the treatment, which can cost up to £2,000, was paid for by the NHS 
  • He made his case under article 8 of Human Rights Act – the right to a family life

A violent criminal was granted fertility treatment inside prison – while many childless couples are denied IVF because of cutbacks.

The inmate, who was convicted of a serious assault, had his request approved last year by then prisons minister Sam Gyimah. 

It is thought the treatment, which can cost up to £2,000, was paid for by the NHS.

Healthcare rationing watchdogs say women under the age of 40 can have three free cycles of IVF if they have been trying to conceive for two years. 

An inmate who was convicted of a serious assault has been granted fertility treatment – which can cost up to £2,000 – inside prison (stock image)

But an audit for the campaign group Fertility Matters found that 87 per cent of England’s clinical commissioning groups missed this target.

In the case of the prisoner he could become a father behind bars if the treatment is successful. He made his case under article 8 of the Human Rights Act – the right to a family life.

Tory MP David Davies said the decision was ludicrous, adding: ‘This is an insult to law-abiding families who are unable to obtain IVF.

‘This is yet another example of the crazy Human Rights Act which ought to be radically changed or got rid of.’

It is one of only a handful of applications for fertility treatment that have been approved for a criminal serving a sentence.

In 2007 murderer Kirk Dickson won the right to father a child from behind bars using artificial insemination after he appealed to the European Court of Human Rights. As a result of that precedent a minister signed off fertility treatment for another inmate four years later – sparking a public backlash.

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Limited details of the latest case were released to the Daily Mail following a Freedom of Information request. Mr Gyimah approved the IVF application last February. He later moved to become higher education minister but quit the Government last month calling the Brexit agreement ‘naive’ and demanding a second referendum.

Initially, the Ministry of Justice refused to say how many prisoners were involved, which minister was responsible or the crime the inmate had committed. Officials said releasing the data could result in the prisoner being identified in breach of their privacy.

However, the information was released following an appeal.

The Ministry of Justice said five inmates made requests for access to IVF in 2015, two were rejected and three cases were ‘discontinued’. The following year, seven prisoners applied, four were rejected and three withdrew.

Last year six applied, two had their cases rejected, three applications were discontinued and one was approved. Another four requests have been made this year, two have been rejected and two are being considered.

It comes as Britain cuts back on its funding for IVF under budget constraints and law-abiding adults struggle to get the treatment (stock image)

A ministry spokesman said: ‘The small number of prisoners requesting access to IVF are subject to a strict assessment – including the risk they pose and their relationship with their partner – and permission is given extremely rarely.

‘All additional costs for facilitating the treatment are met by the prisoner.’

Dickson and a friend kicked to death a 41-year-old man in 1995 and he was sentenced to a minimum of 15 years.

He met his wife Lorraine through a prison pen pal scheme while she was serving 12 months for a £20,000 benefit fraud. They married in 2000 after her release but while he was behind bars.

In 2001 then home secretary David Blunkett rejected the couple’s application to authorise her access to a sperm donation from him for IVF treatment. With at least £20,000 in legal aid, they took the case to the High Court and the Court of Appeal but were rejected at every turn.

In 2007 the case went to Strasbourg, when Dickson was 35 and his wife 49. The grand chamber of the European Court of Human Rights ruled their rights had been breached and awarded them £18,000 in damages.

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