May 30, 2024


A UK prisoner serving life for murder has failed in his latest attempt to get access to IVF treatment. Kirk Dickson, 34, married Lorraine in 2002, a pen pal who was also serving a sentence in another jail. Mrs Dickson is now 48 and will require IVF to become pregnant. After the Home Secretary turned down Mr Dickson’s request for the facilities to allow this, he appealed to a British court and lost. Now his request has also been turned down by the European human rights court in a 4 to 3 decision.

The responses of the judges indicate the range of views about the ethics of IVF. Judge Bonello, of Malta, declared that “I am not particularly impressed by the argument that society regularly allows children to be born in similar or worse circumstances. The state in this case is being asked to become an active accomplice and participant in this future conception.” However, in a dissenting opinion, Judge Borrego Borrego, of Spain, condemned the paternalism of the UK government which was hostile to conception in anything but ideal circumstances.