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Are you starting the New Year with a big question mark hanging over your head? How do I pay for in vitro fertilization? How do I pay for funding for my infertility treatment? You’re not alone. One in six people in BC will face the same question that can be all consuming emotionally, financially and physically. Inferttility is one of the greatest health care issues facing society for the 21st century. One in six people are diagnosed with infertility. That’s an incredibly high number.
One year ago we started talking on line about in vitro fertilization and infertility in British Columbia. Bloggers like Lori McGrath
, Kerry Sauriol
, Marilyn Belsham
, and Danielle Christopher
spent hours writing some amazing and beautiful posts about their experiences with infertility, miscarriages, helping a family member with infertility and their thoughts about why in vitro fertilization should be funded in the beautiful province of British Columbia. I wrote about the reasons for public funding
here in this post on my own blog. We grew on line, on twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. And people, who were once nervous to discuss such a private issue of reproductive health, began to talk with confidence. Patient support groups got smart on social media. They wrote about heartbreaking miscarriages, embryos transferred, embryo adoption, embryo donation and they let people see that infertility impacts everyone. Half of the battle with something so intensely private is getting people to talk publicly about sperm counts and polycystic ovarian syndrome and endometriosis.
Misty Busch, Infertility Awareness Association of Canada, Western Regional manager, shared her stories on Facebook, in the Vancouver area newspapers, on the pages of Metro and even recently at a finance committee meeting to determine what BC should fund as a budget recommendation for 2014.
Her message was simple and truthful:
“Public funding of IVF is a sound investment for BC families and would pay health, social, and fiscal dividends well into our future.”
Infertility has been estimated to affect one in six BC families. Infertility can be treated with
pharmaceutical and surgical treatments, artificial insemination, and in vitro fertilization (IVF). The holiday season is a time for family, but not everyone is blessed with a child. Almost half (43%) of British Columbians report having been affected by infertility personally or through family, friends and acquaintances. In a survey released this year 73 % of British Columbians stated they believe the province should adopt public funding for in vitro fertilization (IVF), similar to the policy in Quebec. In 2010, Quebec became the first province in Canada to provide universal access to IVF through a policy that covers the cost of treatment and mandates single embryo transfer. This policy has led to a reduction in multiple pregnancies from approximately 30 per cent, to well under 10 per cent, resulting in better health outcomes for mother and baby, and millions of health care dollars saved each year.
As we wrap up one year of writing and advocating, finding, and telling infertility stories, there is a glimmer of hope for infertility patients in the province. The BC budget consultations have heard clearly how passionate many people are about funding for fertility treatments in this great province. They’ve made a recommendation for funding. That should be cause for all of us to take a moment and realize how far we’ve come in one year. So here’s your virtual pat on the back.
This is the recommendation wording:
“Adopt and fund a comprehensive in vitro fertilization policy that would provide equitable access for British Columbians, regardless of their income.”
In the New Year we hope this carries forward into real health policy change for patients struggling with a complex health care issue. But we also won’t take this for granted. There is much work to be done still advocating for change and making sure recommendations are made reality.
It’s time. It’s a smart policy. Public funding for IVF saves money and it builds health families.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to the community at IVF4BC.
I am community manager for the patient group IVF4BC. I receive compensation for that role. I am not required to post. I wholeheartedly support this group and this policy.