TORONTO, April 10, 2014 /CNW/ - A coalition founded by people struggling with infertility welcomed the news that there will soon be health funding for In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) in Ontario. Conceivable Dreams, The OHIP for IVF Coalition, was responding to this morning's announcement by Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-term Care, that the Wynne government will cover an initial round of IVF treatments starting in 2015.
"This is a huge step forward for infertile couples in Ontario. As a result of this policy, IVF treatments will be more accessible for the 1 in 6 Ontarians having challenges starting a family," stated Conceivable Dreams co-founder Joanne Horibe. "With IVF costing as much as $10,000 for a single cycle, not including travel and time off work, IVF is currently beyond the financial means of most people. That public health funding will cover even part of this burden is tremendous news."
"I want to thank Premier Wynne, Health Minister Matthews and the Ontario government for treating infertility like the devastating medical condition it is," Horibe said.
Funding IVF will improve health outcomes and reduce costs to the health system. By linking support to a policy of single embryo transfer in most cases, the number of multiple births will be reduced. This is important because:
- Multiples are 17 times more likely to be born pre-term, to require a Caesarean section and to need expensive care at birth and throughout their lives.
- Neonatal mortality in twins is seven times that of singletons and the risk of cerebral palsy is four-fold.
- On average, low birth weight twins will cost the health care system about $1M over their lifetime.
- Multiple births create significant health risks to mother and baby and are a major burden on the overall health system.
Studies in Ontario, Alberta and elsewhere have found that public funding of IVF will reduce the number of multiple births and make infertility treatments safer for mothers and their children. The 2009 Report of the Ontario Expert Panel on Infertility and Adoption found that funding IVF would save Ontario taxpayers $400 – $500 million over the next 10 years in hospital costs alone, plus an additional $300 - $460 million in savings related to long-term disability costs.
This has been supported by practical experience in jurisdictions around the world which fund IVF, such as Australia, Belgium, Finland, Spain, Sweden, New Zealand and many others. In Canada, Quebec and Manitoba currently provide some form of public support to assist families.
"Conceivable Dreams members have been pleased by the non-partisan support we received in our meetings with dozens of individual MPPs from all three political parties in Ontario," said the organization's other co-founder, Kerri Stanford. "We call on the opposition parties to support the government decision to make IVF more accessible to Ontarians."
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.
Current and past patients from across Ontario are available to provide comment to local media
Quotes from Conceivable Dreams members across Ontario:
"IVF coverage means that I can have the family I always dreamed of without going into enormous debt first and It means I can get medical treatment for a condition, that neither myself, nor my husband have control over."
- Melissa Leverre, London, male factor infertility
"When your fertility doctor tells you IVF is your only hope...you feel defeated. And when he hands you a list of what IVF is going to cost you, including meds, admin fees, and procedures, you feel hopeless. Public funding will bring us hope again."
- Christine and Terrance Thwaites, Mississauga
"We drove six hours to the fertility clinic and we worked multiple jobs to pay for IVF. We hope nobody else has to go to such extremes to afford a family."
- Kayla and Kevin Roy, Sudbury
"Public funding of IVF means relief. When working with a diagnosis that is time sensitive, there is no longer an unnecessary wait while the patient saves up the funds."
- Rebecca Brooks, Kitchener, premature ovarian failure, trying to conceive - 6.5 years
"We are still paying off debt from our first attempt at IVF. Public funding means that we don't have to go into further debt to try again. We don't have to give up hope of becoming parents."
- Sandra David, Toronto, male factor infertility due to Cancer
"Following many failed fertility treatments, with debt and heavy hearts we decided to close that chapter and move onto adoption. Public IVF funding will give many the ability to keep reaching for their dream, to have a family, that without funding might not be possible."
- Michelle Pleiter, Listowel, severe endometriosis
"My husband and I recently celebrated the birth of our daughter. This has completely diminished our savings. Public IVF funding gives me hope other families won't have to go into such debt to have a child."
- Stephanie and Mike Mauro, Peterborough
"We tried 12 procedures, including 3 IVFs of our own and have transferred up to 4 embryos at once because we were desperate and couldn't afford to do them 1 at a time. That was a very scary decision to have to make. Nobody should have to be put in that position."
- Carly Weiner, Toronto, male factor due to Cancer, and unexplained female factor
"I feel gratitude every day to be the mother of a boy, now 2, conceived through IVF. However, the process to become parents cost us $28,000 in treatments and four years of heartache. It also saw us making risky health choices in order to save money. With publicly funded IVF, today's infertile couples won't have to endure what we did."
- Jocelyn Bell, male and female factor, Dundas
SOURCE: Conceivable Dreams
For further information: Dorenda McNeil, (416) 300-0269, firstname.lastname@example.org