A leading NHS fertility doctor is making money by sending couples abroad to choose the sex of their unborn baby – a procedure that is illegal in Britain.
Gynaecologist Charles Kingsland, clinical director of Britain’s largest NHS fertility unit and a former inspector for the fertility watchdog, refers at least one woman a week to a clinic in Northern Cyprus to be implanted with a selected embryo.
Last night a leading cross-bench peer demanded an urgent inquiry into the ‘enormous moral issues’ after a Mail on Sunday investigation revealed that:
Mr Kingsland uses NHS premises and staff to organise for profit a medical procedure that is illegal in Britain. Couples are paying up to £14,000 for the controversial service – more than four times the cost of standard private fertility treatment. Mr Kingsland tells patients he must cover up his involvement by claiming to be ‘ignorant’ of their reasons for travelling to Cyprus. Mr Kingsland agreed to make the arrangements for an undercover Mail on Sunday investigator to undergo the procedure – even though there was no evidence that she could not conceive naturally.
Normally such a young, healthy woman with no known fertility problems would not qualify for IVF treatment on the NHS until she had spent at least a year trying to get pregnant by natural means.
Mr Kingsland also told her it was ‘better your GP doesn’t know anything’ about the treatment.
Sex selection was made illegal in Britain by the Human Fertilisation And Embryology Act 2008 except on very narrow medical grounds. However, the UK Cypriot Fertility Association (UKCFA), in which Mr Kingsland is a shareholder, is offering it to women who want to choose the gender of their child for purely social reasons.
On its website, the company advertises that the ‘family balancing’ treatment will be carried out at its affiliated clinic, the Cyprus IVF Centre in Famagusta, in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The state – which is not recognised diplomatically by any nation other than Turkey – is the only place in Europe where sex selection is legal.
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