Ontario government promises to help fund IVF treatments

WATCH ABOVE: The Ontario government has once again promised to help fund IVF treatments.  They say in the long term it will save money, and protect patients.  Christina Stevens reports.

TORONTO — Individuals who need to undergo In vitro fertilization are welcoming news that the Ontario government is reaffirming previous promises to help pay for the treatment.

Sandra Alsaffawai-David is waiting for the funding to kick in before she tries to get pregnant again.

She said that before her husband went through cancer treatment they had to bank his sperm. When it came time to get pregnant, IVF was their only option.

“You put all your eggs into one basket, so to speak, and are hoping and praying the first time goes because it is expensive, said Alsaffawai-David.

Discovering that the first treatment didn’t result in a pregnancy was a big disappointment.

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“Personally, emotionally, financially. We took a loan out in order to pay for the process so I still have a monthly reminder that I don’t have a baby,”

The Ontario government promised funding (for the procedure, but not the medication) in its budget.

According to a statement provided to Global News by Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins, they have established an advisory body and expect funding to be in place by later this year.

However, he did made no reference to the fact that last year his predecessor Deb Matthews promised funding would be in place by now.

The government has said helping fund IVF could save hundreds of millions of dollars over a decade.

That is because many women receive more than one embryo in IVF, to increase their chances of success. That leads to an increase in multiple births, which can be dangerous and costly.

The government’s own expert panel found:

  • multiples are 17 times more likely to be born pre-term, require a C – Section and need more expensive care at birth and later
  • neonatal mortality in twins is seven times higher than in single births

    So the government would only help pay for an IVF cycle that puts in one embryo at a time.

    “It’s the right thing to do for patients,” said Dr. Marjorie Dixon, Medical Director of First Steps Fertility.

    She believes in the importance of the government taking the time to do enough research so funding policies are done right.

    “It’s not going to be easy decisions, we need to look at literature, and see who are good candidates, and who will have good outcomes,” said Dixon.

    Meanwhile, Alsaffawai-David remains optimistic funding will come as promised.

    “I have every faith that government is committed to this.”

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