The 25m IVF doctor: Clinic's profits fuel criticism of the 'human life industry'
22:02 GMT, 13 May 2012
A controversial fertility doctor has raked in 25million in a single year.
Mohamed Taranissi and his wife received the colossal sum through their IVF clinic, giving fresh evidence to critics who say that the creation of human life has become a multi-million pound industry.
On Saturday the Daily Mail revealed that a human egg agency has offered thousands of Cambridge university students 750 to donate their eggs.
The 25m man: Mohamed Taranissi earned the vast sum as head of London's most successful fertility clinic
Mr Taranassi, 57, and his second wife Elly Fincham, 53, are the owners of the Assisted Reproduction and Gynaecology Centre fertility clinic in London. Rod Stewart’s wife Penny Lancaster had their son Aiden after treatment there. Its reputation has helped the couple build a fortune of 45million, including the newly published dividend of 25million they paid themselves in 2010.
Women pay 150 for an initial consultation and 2,500 for a course of IVF, with other procedures and drugs pushing the cost up higher. Customers are attracted by Mr Taranissi’s impressive listing at the top of pregnancy league tables for woman under 35 and over 40.
Two years ago his pregnancy rate for women under 35 was 64.3 per cent, double the national average. For women over 40 his pregnancy rate was 41 per cent, a third better than his closest rival.
Lucrative business: Mr Taranassi, 57, runs the Assisted Reproduction and Gynaecology Centre with his second wife, Elly Fincham
Yet he has been dogged by criticism. His career hit a low point in 2007 when police working with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) raided his clinic on the night a Panorama investigation about him was screened on BBC TV.
He successfully fought back against allegations made by the HFEA, with all nine cases referred to the police dismissed without charge, and ended up winning 900,000 in costs from the BBC following a libel battle.
Critic: Professor Robert Winston has said Mr Taranissi 'makes you weep for the medical profession'
However, there are still critics. Fertility expert Professor Robert Winston once said Mr Taranissi ‘makes you weep for the medical profession’, and last year attacked IVF clinics for ‘cashing in’ with charges for storing frozen embryos, even though the liquid nitrogen involved ‘costs a few pence a litre’.
Mr Taranissi’s ARGC clinic charges 575 for freezing and storing an embryo for one year, and 250 for each subsequent year.
Last year Egypt-born Mr Taranissi said: ‘This issue over the cost of IVF always comes up. But you can’t really put a price on it, it’s not like buying a new car or holiday. If you have a baby it changes your life completely and really is priceless.
‘The NHS should be providing more free treatment. Infertility is an illness – there’s usually a medical reason why someone can’t conceive and for this reason needs to be addressed.’
Mr Taranissi has admitted that he works so hard he has little time to see his own five children, who are aged 11 to 29.