As Canadian Infertility Awareness Week kicks off May 24, 25,000 petition
signatures support public funding of infertility treatments; Ministry
of Health actively considering funding in vitro fertilization
CALGARY, May 22, 2014 /CNW/ - A new survey on infertility reveals most
people have a startling lack of knowledge about their own fertility,
and the treatment options available to them. Yet, when it comes to
issues around cost and access, a majority of Albertans feel fertility
treatments are too expensive for the average family, and support public
funding of in vitro fertilization (IVF).
The national survey was conducted by Generations of Hope in partnership
with other Canadian infertility patient advocacy groups in support of
Canadian Infertility Awareness Week - kicking off May 24.
When it comes to general knowledge, the survey revealed a majority of
Canadians don't know when to seek treatment for infertility, and few
are having conversations about fertility with their doctors. Among the
Over half of Canadians (53 per cent) don't know women and men have equal
incidence of infertility.
Nearly one third of Canadians (32 per cent) and almost half of men (42
per cent) don't realize a woman's eggs age with her.
Over half of Canadians (51 per cent) and of men (59 per cent) don't
realize a man's sperm ages with him.
Two thirds of Canadians (66 per cent) don't know that in vitro
fertilization is the most effective treatment for infertility.
Over half of Canadians (55 per cent) don't realize they should seek
treatment for infertility after actively trying to get pregnant for one
The majority of Canadians (81 per cent) think it is the family doctor's
responsibility to educate Canadians on their fertility but only 15 per
cent of Canadians report having that discussion.
Many common diseases contribute to infertility, including endometriosis,
diabetes, hypothyroidism and cancer. For those experiencing
infertility, many will turn to in vitro fertilization, the clinical
best practice to treat infertility, in their efforts to create their
Cost of treatment, access to treatment services and lack of knowledge
were identified in the survey as the top three barriers to treatment
for those facing infertility. According to Alberta survey results,
eighty four per cent of Albertans agree that the cost of fertility
treatments is too expensive for the average family.
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 $8,000 to $14,500, including
drugs, 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 and need expensive care at birth and throughout their lives.
Other provinces have already taken steps to support residents suffering
from infertility. Quebec has been publicly funding in vitro
fertilization treatments since 2010, and the Government of Manitoba
provides a tax credit to cover the costs of infertility treatment up to
40 per cent. Most recently, Ontario announced in its 2014 Budget
funding for a single cycle of single embryo transfer in vitro
"If we believe in the importance of building families for all Albertans,
not just those who are economically advantaged, we must publically fund
IVF - so all Albertans struggling with infertility have the opportunity
to have children," says Terri Abraham, President of Generations of
Hope. "This will make starting a family more accessible for Albertans
in all corners of the province and will ultimately pay health, social
and fiscal dividends into the future. I urge the Alberta Minister of
Health to make the right choice for Alberta families and the health
system by considering expanding funding for infertility treatments in
A recent report commissioned by the Alberta Government and conducted by
the University of Alberta's School of Public Policy shows cost savings
to our healthcare system of up to $97 million dollars over 18 years if
fertility treatments, tied to a single embryo transfer policy, were
publicly funded. If the wider societal costs are taken into account,
the actual savings realized to the Province could be up to $179 million
over 18 years.
"I faced infertility in my early 20s but was lucky to be able to afford
treatment. I was blessed with a twin pregnancy in my first attempt;
however, it was a much more complicated pregnancy and I was monitored
more closely than an expectant mother of a singleton," says Shelby
Dwyer, Calgary, Alberta mom. "As we approach Canadian Infertility
Awareness Week, 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?"
"The possibility for affordable IVF treatments in Alberta is welcome
news to many of my patients, as well as the countless others suffering
from infertility who have not been able to afford treatment to build
their families," says Dr. Cal Greene, Director of the Regional
Fertility Program in Calgary. "Many of my patients are young and not
financially in a position to afford expensive fertility treatments.
Publicly funding IVF treatment tied to a single embryo transfer policy
will result in significant financial savings to the healthcare system
while achieving better health outcomes for mothers and babies."
Survey Methodology: From April 14th to April 29th, 2014, an online survey was conducted among two sample groups. The
first is a sample of 2007 Canadian adults age 18+, who are also Angus
Reid Forum panel members. This group has a margin of error — which
measures sampling variability — of +/-2.19%, 19 times out of 20. The
sample was balanced by age, gender, region and education according to
the most recent census data. The second group is a sample of 510
residents of Nova Scotia, aged 18+. This group has a margin of error of
4.34%, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due
About Generations of Hope (GOH) GOH is a non-profit organization devoted to raising awareness of
infertility and helping couples struggling with infertility attain
their dream of a family. Through the Generations of Hope Fertility
Assistance Fund, families for whom IVF treatment is a challenging
financial option can receive assistance for treatment at the Regional
Fertility Program. Since 1985, there have been nearly 10,000 IVF
births through the IVF program in Calgary.
For more information, visit:
Generations of Hope website - www.genertationsofhope.ca
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/generationsofhope
Twitter - https://twitter.com/gensofhope
SOURCE: Generations of Hope
For further information:
and to speak to Dr. Cal Greene, Director of the Regional Fertility Program in Calgary, Terri Abraham, President of Generations of Hope, or Shelby Dwyer, Calgary, Alberta mom, please contact:
Jeremy Twigg, FleishmanHillard