'Coronation Street' sparks Ofcom complaints over 'insensitive' IVF scene

Katie Archer

Coronation Street could be in trouble with Ofcom over “insensitive” comments about IVF which aired during Fertility Awareness Week.

The ITV soap featured a scene where battleaxe character Evelyn Plummer, played by Maureen Lipman, made a remark about the recent addition of quadruplets to the cobbles being done “the old-fashioned way”.

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In a conversation about character Gemma Winter’s (Dolly Rose Campbell) new arrivals, she said: “I’m quite surprised it made the paper ‘cos you can’t move for twins and triplets these days. At least she did it the old-fashioned way and not through, what’s it, IVF.”

Ofcom has said it is assessing whether to investigate after receiving 60 complaints and a number of viewers airing their outrage on Twitter about the insensitive line.

Evelyn is known as a prickly character, so her comments would have been in keeping with her usual attitude, but even so viewers questioned the timing of the scene airing in Fertility Awareness Week.

Another viewer tweeted: “Shout out to all my #infertility warriors who are p***ed off with the insensitive scripting on #coronationstreet tonight. #ITV shame on you, it's infertility awareness week NOT mock the infertiles! ‘Atleast she did it the old fashioned way and not through IVF’.”

Tone Jarvis-Mack of The Fertility Foundation said: “It’s sad to see a popular show making such disparaging comments on a subject that affects one in six people who’d love to have a baby the old-fashioned way.

“I’d have hoped the ­researchers would have taken the time to understand the ­emotional roller coaster couples are on when facing the fact the only way to start a family is through IVF.”

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Gemma’s storyline saw her give birth to the first boy quadruplet in a cable car after the shock of boyfriend Chesney Brown proposing to her, and went on to have another boy and two girls in hospital.

Fertility Awareness Week ran from October 28 to November 3 and the scene aired on Halloween.