New provincial budget gives employers opportunity to help more Ontario families grow

Conceivable Dreams calls on companies and benefit providers to cover cost of fertility drugs following announcement that the Ontario government will provide free drug coverage for those under 25

TORONTO, April 28, 2017 /CNW/ - Conceivable Dreams, an IVF advocacy group, is calling on Ontario employers to include coverage for fertility drugs in their employee benefit plans following yesterday's announcement by the provincial government that it will expand its current drug benefit program to cover the cost of all drugs for residents under 25. This change is expected to save employers and health insurance companies tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions of dollars.

"Conceivable Dreams congratulates the Ontario government on the change to its drug plan and encourages all progressive employers to re-invest a percentage of the savings they will realize into the coverage of fertility medicines," said Danielle Xavier, President, Conceivable Dreams. "With an increasing number of Ontarians affected by infertility every year, covering the cost of drugs associated with expensive fertility treatments will help more patients living with infertility to pursue their dream of having a child."

In Ontario, it is estimated that 1 in 6 couples live with infertility. The cost of fertility drugs needed for assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) ranges from $2,000 to $5,000. This creates a significant financial barrier to treatment for many patients, presenting an opportunity for businesses who cover the cost of these drugs to help more Ontarians pursue the medical care needed to grow their families.

Ontario currently leads among the provinces when it comes to providing access and support to families and individuals struggling with infertility. Launched in December 2015, the province's fertility program contributes to the cost of one round of IVF for eligible patients. Ontario also has the most IVF fertility clinics per million people in Canada, making it easier for people to access these treatments. Quebec, however, is the only province that provides coverage for fertility drugs, which it offers to patients as part of its sliding scale tax credit for expenses related to IVF based on income level.

"My husband and I paid more than $5,000 for fertility drugs when we did IVF in 2016," said Conceivable Dreams patient member Catherine Tremblay who underwent a funded IVF cycle through the Ontario Fertility Program. "Unfortunately, my private drug plan did not cover fertility medications and we're still paying these bills more than a year later. Infertility is now a government-recognized medical condition, and employers' drug policies should reflect that."

"Ontarians want to work for businesses that demonstrate consideration and respect for the well-being and reproductive choices of their employees," added Xavier. "When employers show employees that they care, the outcome can only positively impact their bottom line."

Experts believe employers that support the reproductive choices of their employees are more likely to retain and attract top-tier employees and exhibit a higher company morale. Despite this, in 2012, fewer than 30 per cent of the companies on Mediacorp's list of Canada's top 100 employers provided benefits for IVF. 

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 (IVF) for men and women facing infertility.

SOURCE Conceivable Dreams

For further information: Conceivable Dreams: Danielle Xavier, President, Email: danielle@conceivabledreams.org; Patient contact - to coordinate interviews with Ontario patients: Paula Schuck, Email: inkscrblr@rogers.com, Direct: 519.852.4596; Media contact: Sandy Blackwood, Counsel Public Affairs, Email: sblackwood@counselpa.com, Direct: 416.920.0716 ext. 240


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