The inmates were granted permission to take part in IVF with their wives or girlfriends as conjugal visits are not allowed in British prisons. The prisoners or their families must pay for the treatment
Jail bosses have helped 60 prisoners become dads while serving time behind bars, according to an official statistician.
The inmates were granted permission to take part in IVF treatment with their wives or girlfriends because conjugal visits are not allowed in British prisons.
But tonight one source said: “People will be shocked that this is happening. We are pandering to some of the worst people in society.”
The prisoners or their families must pay for the treatment, which cannot be billed to taxpayers.
In each case an inmate makes an application to the prison authorities, which then rule on whether or not they can make a sperm donation.
Decisions are made based on the type of crime committed by the inmate, the length of their sentence, age of the partner, length of relationship, plus considerations about a future child’s welfare.
News of the 60 men given help to become fathers emerged in an interview with House of Commons statistician Georgina Sturge. She drew up the figure after an unnamed MP asked for details on how many prisoners had “undergone artificial insemination”.
Ms Sturge said afterwards: “They were referring to male prisoners who have provided [sperm] to the outside world for the purpose of insemination.
“From piecing it together from this and that I was able to find out the exact number of cases. It was 60 or so.”
The identities of those given the green light for treatment, which can cost more than £10,000, remain under wraps. Conjugal visits – where partners have sex with inmates in special jail facilities – are allowed in much of Europe and in Canada but not in the UK, despite campaigns by prisoners’ rights groups.
In 2012, jail chiefs said they had received five applications for IVF. Four of the men were serving time for murder and the other was a drug dealer.
In 2007 a convicted murderer won damages after the European Court of Human Rights ruled the British government had violated his right to parenthood by not allowing IVF. Kirk Dickson, then aged 35, and wife Lorraine, 49, sued after their request was turned down.
The family of Dickson’s victim George Askins, a 41-year-old father of one from Chapel St Leonards, Lincs, spoke at the time of their horror.
In 2019 another killer, Aaron Newman, 28, wrote a letter to prisoners’ magazine Inside Time protesting that it was his human right to become a father by “natural or even artificial means”. Newman got life in 2015 after he and an accomplice shot a young mum in a case of mistaken identity in Hinckley, Leics.
The Prison Service has said: “HM Prison and Probation Service does not provide IVF treatment for prisoners.
“Prisoners, however, do have the right to apply for access to fertility treatment, which, if access was granted, would be undertaken at their own expense.
“Prisoners do not have an automatic right to access fertility treatment and each request is considered on its individual merits.”
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