MONTREAL, June 27, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - In an official response to recent media coverage of Quebec's Assisted Reproduction Program, the Infertility Awareness Association of Canada says important issues concerning the program were omitted. On June 18, the Montreal daily La Presse published an article announcing that the program, which has been funding and regulating fertility treatments since August 5, 2010, will cost more than expected. When new fertility centres in hospitals are in the planning phase, it is to be expected that requests for funds will follow. IAAC believes the matter of the considerable savings realized by the implementation of a single embryo transfer policy (tied to the program) should have been addressed, as well.
Pediatrician Dr. Annie Janvier, a neonatologist and specialist in clinical ethics at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Sainte-Justine Hospital, in Montreal, and Associate Professor at the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Montreal, shares IAAC's concern.
"It is clear that the financial and emotional costs associated with in vitro fertilization have been reduced," Dr. Janvier states. "Before the program, 30% of IVF pregnancies were multiple pregnancies (twins and triplets) because several embryos were transferred. Multiple pregnancies are expensive, as they increase pregnancy-related risks (diabetes, high blood pressure, caesarean delivery, blood transfusion). Moreover, 90% of triplets and 60% of twins are born prematurely and require expensive neonatal intensive care. Before Quebec's new program, about 20% of IVF babies were premature and admitted to intensive care units. Premature babies are also more at risk of long-term medical problems, the financial (and emotional) costs of which may well last throughout a child's lifetime.
"Since the implementation of our program, which is in reality a public health program, only 7% of IVF-related births are multiple births. This diminishes complications for mothers and children, and means fewer IVF babies requiring intensive care. Furthermore, before the introduction of this program the Quebec government funded many operations, namely surgeries to defective fallopian tubes, which are less effective than IVF and more likely to be followed by complications. Such operations have now become much less frequent.
"One must consider what a healthy child will contribute to Quebec's economy, where today an aging population has both economists and politicians very concerned. The generation of children born today is crucial to the future prosperity of this country."
Dr. Janvier adds: "The public needs and deserves to hear the full story in order to formulate an informed opinion of the current program. One important aspect which is sometimes lost is the current debate is the fact that transferring a single embryo reduces IVF health complications for mothers and babies. Regulating IVF without funding the procedure would only incite couples to seek IVF elsewhere, then return to Quebec to deliver their twins and triplets, which greatly increases costs to our health system. Quebec can be proud of investing in prevention to maximize the chances of producing healthy children."
IAAC hopes that future media reporting presents a balanced view of Quebec's newly established IVF program, and IAAC underlines its availability to provide detailed information regarding any particular aspect of media interest.
For further information:
Beverly Hanck, Executive Director
Infertility Awareness Association of Canada
2160 Nightingale Avenue
Montreal, Quebec H9S 1E4
Tel. 514-484-2891 Toll Free: 800-263-2929