Ontarians polled on fertility to kick off Canadian Infertility Awareness Week May 24
TORONTO, 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 Ontarians 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 Conceivable Dreams in partnership with other Canadian infertility patient advocacy groups, in support of Canadian Infertility Awareness Week - kicking off May 24 - and the upcoming Ontario election on June 12.
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 findings:
- 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 (IVF) 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 year.
- 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.
[Note: Infographic link below.]
Many common diseases contribute to infertility, including endometriosis, diabetes, hypothyroidism and cancer. For those experiencing infertility, many will turn to IVF, the clinical best practice to treat infertility, in their efforts to create their families.
Due to the limited access to IVF services outside of major urban cities and the average out-of-pocket cost of 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.
In Ontario, the poll was conducted immediately following that province's announcement on April 10th that it planned to fund one cycle of IVF, not including drugs, for all forms of infertility, starting in 2015.
Ontario is just the latest province to support funding for IVF. 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.
When it comes to the cost barriers to treatment, according to Ontario survey results:
- Eighty-eight per cent of Ontarians agree that the cost of fertility treatments is too expensive for the average family.
- Sixty-one per cent agree all families should have access to some form of public coverage of fertility treatments.
- Sixty-eight per cent agree other provinces outside Quebec should adopt a policy of funding IVF.
- Seventy per cent agree with funding IVF, provided it is tied to a policy of single embryo transfer.
"These survey results show that Ontarians are acutely aware of the financial barriers to accessing IVF - arguably the best practice for helping infertile couples deliver a healthy baby," says Joanne Horibe, co-founder of Conceivable Dreams. "And, more importantly, they agree with policies designed to ease the financial burden of IVF, so that couples, who through no fault of their own have trouble conceiving, can one day realize their dream of becoming parents."
"The Ontario Government's recent decision to fund one cycle of IVF is welcome news to the countless families across the province affected by infertility," says Sandra David, whose challenges with fertility are caused by medical treatments her husband received for cancer which was discovered shortly after they were married. "As we approach Canadian Infertility Awareness Week, I would like to encourage Ontarians to raise this issue with their local MPPs. Funding in vitro fertilization isn't a partisan issue - it deserves support from all parties to ensure that whoever is elected as the next government delivers on the Budget's promise to make IVF funding a reality."
"The possibility for affordable IVF treatments in Ontario 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 start building their families," says Dr. Marjorie Dixon, Medical Director at First Steps Fertility in Toronto. "Many of my patients are simply 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."
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:
and to speak to Dr. Marjorie Dixon, Joanne Horibe, co-founder of Conceivable Dreams, or Sandra David, please contact:
Justin Hane, FleishmanHillard