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

TORONTO, 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 not be celebrating. I began trying to conceive at age 25 and thought the fact that I was healthy and physically fit meant I wouldn't face challenges," says Danielle Xavier from Toronto, Ontario. "After five years of trying, and the use of less costly therapies, we've been advised that IVF is the next step for us. Sadly, this means we have to wait even longer as we try to save enough money to afford treatment. I believe we need more resources to support those with infertility."

"There are a countless number of Canadians who suffer from infertility. It is a medical condition that is often suffered in silence," says Joanne Horibe, co-founder of Conceivable Dreams. "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."

"My husband, Alex, was diagnosed with male factor infertility when he was only 30 years old," says Kerri Stanford of Ottawa.  "We were lucky because my parents were able to help us to pay for our IVF treatment and we got pregnant on our first try.  I had a complicated [twin] pregnancy, but we were blessed with a healthy little girl. As we approach Mother's Day, I would ask Canadians to consider - if your son or daughter faced this medical condition - wouldn't you want treatment to be available for 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.

Today, Quebec is the only province in Canada to provide universal access to in vitro fertilization. It does so through a program that links full funding of treatments and drugs to a policy that promotes single embryo transfer.

"Funding in vitro fertilization creates a "win-win" for the healthcare system and those facing infertility," says Dr. Ellen Greenblatt, Medical Director, Centre for Fertility and Reproductive Health, Mount Sinai Hospital. "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 IVF, they are far less likely to insist on transferring multiple embryos.  Replacing fewer embryos results in significant 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 are 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 Ontario, 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 Conceivable Dreams

Conceivable Dreams is a broad-based organization of patients, family members, health professionals and other supporters dedicated to achieving equitable access to funding for in vitro fertilization for men and women facing fertility challenges.

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/Conceivable Dreams)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130502_C3099_PHOTO_EN_26296.jpg

SOURCE: Conceivable Dreams

For further information:

For more information and to speak to Dr. Ellen Greenblatt, Medical Director, Centre for Fertility and Reproductive Health, Mount Sinai Hospital; Joanne Horibe, co-founder of Conceivable Dreams; Danielle Xavier or Kerri Stanford, please contact:

Jessica DellAquila
FleishmanHillard
Jessica.DellAquila@fleishman.com
416-645-3641

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Conceivable Dreams

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