Ontarians Celebrate the First Anniversary of the Ontario Fertility Program

Conceivable Dreams congratulates the Government of Ontario for supporting more than 6,500 patients to help their families grow

TORONTO, Jan. 10, 2017 /CNW/ - Since its launch in December 2015, the Ontario Fertility Program has enabled thousands of Ontarians living with infertility to fulfill their dream of starting or expanding their families by improving affordability and access to assisted reproductive services. The program, which contributes to the cost of one cycle of in vitro fertilization (IVF) for eligible patients, saw thousands of people register in its inaugural year. As of December 2016, more than 6,500 people had received funding for IVF and related services with the first babies conceived through the program born in October 2016.  

"Ontario has shown great leadership with the Ontario Fertility Program and is a successful model for other Canadian provinces when it comes to providing equitable access to IVF," said Danielle Xavier, President of the IVF advocacy group, Conceivable Dreams. "We congratulate all the families who have had a positive experience with the program to date – from those who have welcomed a new addition to their family, to those who have gained a renewed sense of hope for the future."

Patients can receive a funded round of IVF at 18 of Ontario's 51 fertility clinics. Without the help, the treatment can cost upwards of $10,000 per cycle. By implementing a single embryo transfer policy, the program reduces the chance of multiples (i.e. twins, triplets, etc.) born through IVF, making the treatment safer for mothers and their children. Ontario taxpayers will save up to $500 million in associated health costs over the next ten years as a result. The number of live births attributed to the program's first year is currently being monitored by the Ontario government and will be made public in 2017.

"Nearly one in six Ontarians are affected by infertility and I am pleased to see so many people embracing the Ontario Fertility Program as a means for growing their families in its first year," said Health Minister Eric Hoskins. "It is our hope that similar policies and programs will soon also become a reality in other provinces throughout Canada."

In addition to Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and New Brunswick currently provide some form of financial support to assist families seeking IVF. Quebec was the first province to launch a government-funded program but did not set limits on who could seek treatment and was forced to scale back funding significantly in late 2015 to contain escalating costs. Manitoba and New Brunswick currently offer a tax credit and one-time grant to patients respectively.

"Words can't describe how grateful my husband and I are for the opportunity the Ontario Fertility Program has given us to start a family," said Latoya Barham, a Conceivable Dreams Patient Member who completed a funded IVF treatment cycle in July and is currently five months pregnant. "We tried for many years to have a baby and at one point even travelled to Barbados, where fertility treatments are cheaper, to pursue our dream. Just when we thought having a child wouldn't happen for us, we learned we had received a funded cycle – and now we're expecting! This is a gift we'll never forget."

For more information on the Ontario Fertility Program, and an infographic representation of the current status of public funding for IVF in Canada, visit conceivabledreams.org.

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 fertility challenges.

SOURCE Conceivable Dreams

For further information: Media Contact: Sandy Blackwood, Counsel Public Affairs Inc., sblackwood@counselpa.com, Office: 416-920-0716 ext. 240, Cell: 647-927-7347

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