Mother's Day Survey Reveals Motherly Support for One in Six Canadian Couples Suffering from Infertility

Majority Believe Infertility is a Medical Condition and Want Treatments Supported by the Healthcare System

VANCOUVER, May 3, 2013 /CNW/ - Mother's Day is a celebration honoring motherhood but for one in six Canadian couples facing the emotional and financial burden of infertility, it can be an unbearable day. A new survey released today shows there is a great deal in common between today's mothers and those who have struggled with infertility, including the age at which they wanted to have children and the age at which they actively began trying to conceive. Mothers also have similar attitudes towards the causes of infertility, the challenges to access treatment and the role government should play.

Sponsored by Today's Parent Magazine and EMD Inc., Canada, the survey uncovers both understanding and support among Moms for couples facing infertility.  Of those Moms surveyed, thirty-six per cent faced their own issues that made it difficult for them to conceive; twenty six per cent indicated that it took 2 years or more to become pregnant and eighty-three per cent believe fertility should be recognized as a medical issue. Other findings include:

  • Sixty-three per cent believe family physicians/primary care providers should be raising the issue of fertility with their patients during the course of regular medical check-ups.
  • Eighty-seven per cent believe cost is the single biggest challenge for those facing infertility.
  • Thirty-three per cent said geographical concerns create limitations.
  • Ninety-two per cent believe fertility treatments are too expensive for the average family.
  • Seventy-eight per cent believe more should be done to improve access to fertility treatments.
  • Seventy per cent believe governments should provide financial assistance for fertility treatments.

"Next week is Mother's Day and I will be at home alone in silence. I began trying to conceive at 24 and thought the fact that I was healthy and physically fit meant I wouldn't face challenges trying," says Casandra Sullivan, from Surrey, British Columbia. "My husband and I are saving to start our first cycle of in vitro fertilization. But there are challenges - the cost of this procedure is very expensive, let alone the emotional toll it takes. I wish I'd known more about my fertility and believe we need more resources to support people facing infertility."

"There are a countless number of Canadians who suffer from infertility. It is a medical condition that is often suffered in silence," says Gloria Poirier, Executive Director, Infertility Awareness Association of Canada. "The results of this survey are important because they show there is solidarity and support from those who have been fortunate enough to become mothers."

"I faced infertility at 26 but was lucky to be able to afford treatment and was blessed with twins after a complicated pregnancy and birth," says Misty Busch, Western Regional Director, Infertility Awareness Association of Canada. "Today I help others facing this medical condition. As we approach Mother's Day, I would like to challenge Canadians to consider - if your son or daughter faced this medical condition - wouldn't you want treatment to be available to them?"

Due to the limited access to infertility treatment services outside of major urban cities and the average out-of-pocket cost of in vitro fertilization treatments ranging from $6,000 to $8,000, plus medications, many couples either can't proceed with treatment or are faced with the decision to transfer more than one embryo per treatment cycle to increase their chances of getting pregnant. Transferring more than one embryo can often result in a multiple birth. Multiples are not only a high risk pregnancy but are also 17 times more likely to be born pre-term, require a caesarean delivery, and need expensive care at birth and throughout their lives.

Quebec is the only province in Canada to provide universal access to in vitro fertilization through a policy that covers the cost of treatment.

"The policy has led to a "win-win" for the healthcare system and those facing infertility," says Dr. Jason Hitkari of the Olive Clinic in Vancouver. "Many of my patients are young and not financially in a position to afford expensive fertility treatments. What we have learned from the Quebec experience is that when we reduce the financial burden on patients requiring in vitro fertilization treatment, they are far less likely to insist on transferring multiple embryos.  Replacing fewer embryos results in significant financial savings to the healthcare system while achieving better health outcomes for mothers and babies. This is achieved by reducing complicated twin pregnancies and multiple births which is not only costly to the healthcare system and society but to families as well."

In Quebec, multiple pregnancies through IVF have been reduced from approximately 30 per cent to well under 10 per cent, resulting in an estimated cost savings to the health system of $30-$60 million per year since the program's inception, according to statements by former Quebec Minister of Health & Social Services Yves Bolduc.

Outside of Quebec, the rest of Canada, including British Columbia, has among the highest multiple birth rates at approximately 28 per cent.

Survey Methodology: In January 2013, Rogers Connect Market Research conducted a 9 minute online survey of adult Canadians (male and female) who have had children/are considering having children in the near future. All figures cited refer to Canadian mothers (defined here as women with 1 or more children). Just over 15% of all completes consisted of persons who have made use of fertility treatments in the past or were currently undergoing fertility treatments. A total of 1104 Canadian mothers participated in the survey.

The Today's Parent survey on infertility was sponsored by EMD Inc., Canada, in support of Canadian Infertility Awareness Week (CIAW), which runs from May 19 - 25, and the various patient associations who work to raise awareness of infertility. EMD Inc., Canada is a pharmaceutical company which specializes in providing products and services to address the needs of patients in the areas of fertility, endocrinology and neurodegenerative diseases. EMD Inc., Canada is an affiliate of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

About the Infertility Awareness Association of Canada

The Infertility Awareness Association of Canada Inc. (IAAC) was founded in 1990 and originated from an Ottawa voluntary group called the Infertility Self Support Group, which began in 1983. IAAC is committed to providing educational material, support and assistance to individuals and couples who are experiencing the anguish of infertility, a reproductive health disease which affects over half a million Canadian men and women. 

For more information, visit: www.iaac.ca

Image with caption: "Mother's day survey reveals motherly support for one in six Canadian couples suffering from infertility. Majority of Moms believe infertility is a medical condition and want treatments supported by the healthcare system.(CNW Group/Infertility Awareness Association of Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130503_C3237_PHOTO_EN_26303.jpg

SOURCE: Infertility Awareness Association of Canada

For further information:

For more information and to speak to Dr. Jason Hitkari of the Olive Clinic in Vancouver, Casandra Sullivan from Surrey, or the Infertility Awareness Association of Canada, please contact:

Jeremy Twigg
Fleishman-Hillard
604-688-2505
Jeremy.twigg@fleishman.ca

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Infertility Awareness Association of Canada

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