Radio station defends its 'Win A Baby' contest
Angela Mulholland, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Thursday, September 29, 2011 8:31AM EDT
An Ottawa radio station's decision to launch a "Win A Baby!" giveaway contest is being met with outrage by some. But the station's program director says what they're really hoping to do it to shine the spotlight on the all-too-common issue of infertility.
The New Hot 89.9 isn't actually giving away a baby. The contest's big prize is $35,000 worth of infertility treatments. They asked couples who are having trouble conceiving to describe -- in 100 words or less -- why they are most deserving of the prize.
By the time the contest closed on Tuesday, the station had received close to 400 applications, says the station's program director, Josie Geuer. She says they've seen all kinds of applicants.
"Some of the stories have been honestly heartbreaking," Geuer told CTV's Canada AM Thursday from Ottawa.
"We've had a lot of cancer survivors who've applied who, because of their cancer treatment, cannot conceive naturally. We have one couple where the husband was in a car accident and is now a quadriplegic and for that reason they cannot conceive," she says.
They've also had applications from same-sex couples who want help having a baby.
"And we've had – and this is a little shocking to me – four single women apply who said they just can't find Mr. Right and can't wait any longer to have children," Geuer said.
The station will now comb through the applications and narrow down the entries to five finalists – a process that Geuer says will be "almost impossible."
On Friday, the station will announce the five finalists and then open up their website to ask listeners to vote for who they think is most deserving.
The station will then tally up the votes and then speak to doctors about which would make the best choice.
"We'll be seeking the help of fertility experts to help us find that one couple that essentially has the best shot of conceiving," Geuer explained.
The winner will then be announced on Tuesday, Oct. 11on the Hot 89.9's morning show.
Geuer says the stations decided to launch the contest after realizing how common infertility issues are.
"Actually a lot of people in our building at the New Hot 89.9 have suffered infertility issues and have undergone treatments so that's what sparked the idea," she said.
She adds that she herself has gotten "quite an education" on fertility and infertility over the last four weeks that the contest has been running. She notes that most of us probably know somebody who's struggled to have a baby, since one in six couples has trouble conceiving.
"It's a very real problem in the country right now. And we're glad we can offer up to $35,000 worth of fertility treatments to one lucky couple," she said.