Five Things You Could Have Bought for $10,000: If You Didn’t Have to Pay for IVF

This morning I had math on my mind. Well, math, health and shopping, actually. What do all three things have in common? Let me tell you. They all have had to pay for IVF.


I was talking to five Facebook friends across Canada and I tallied up the price tag of their collective infertility journeys. The tally came close to several hundred thousand dollars. That’s five families. $300,000 to $400,000 paid to build four families. One couple was not successful yet.

I can tell you that the infertile couples I interview, and meet and talk to often as community manager for Conceivable Dreams, the Ontario OHIP For IVF patient group, are not wealthy. They are typically very average Ontarians, and Albertans and British Columbians. At least average from a socio-economic perspective. They do not have money to spend on health care in a country where health care is known to be universally accessible and free. Nor do they have income to pay for IVF endlessly out of pocket.

A Few Infertility Stories


One of my friends is a school teacher. She has all but given up on having a family after trying to conceive for years. She is aging out of the opportunity to have kids biologically – even with assisted reproductive technology. Another has a child and is a stay at home parent with a husband who works in law enforcement. Yet another is a nurse. One works in the field of interior decorating. One had twins after he and his wife went to the United States to get the treatment they needed. He notes they returned here pregnant with twins and had two very long stays in hospital with premature babies.


High Cost of Infertility

Individually each of these friends paid a minimum of $10,000. (That’s an average round of IVF, sometimes the costs exceed that with medications.) Many estimated their price tag much higher. One friend I interviewed here months ago spent $50,000 on in vitro fertilization. Another paid close to $100,000 because it is not funded in Ontario, or Alberta, or BC, or Saskatchewan. IVF is covered entirely in Quebec. Three rounds of single embryo transfer are covered there meaning fewer maternal health care issues and fewer premature multiples. The Quebec investment equals health care savings and healthier babies and families. In Manitoba there’s a tax credit.

So I got to thinking. What could these couples, or individuals requiring infertility health care have spent that money on instead. What if they didn’t have to pay for IVF?



Here’s what you could buy for $10,000

(A practical list)

1. Your child’s RESP –

Not a year at university but with the right investment, it could be. (A really smart financial guru Gail Vaz-Oxlade has been quoted as stating you should put away about $200 a month in RESP – that’s $2400 a year. So essentially that’s 4 1/2 years you could have invested in your child’s education.)

2. The roof over your head –

A roof on your house costs anywhere between $5,000 to $10,000 (sadly many of the couples I know struggling with infertility in Ontario have remortgaged their homes so no new roof for them, just debt.

3. A used car –

A car that’s got a few years on it perhaps but it’s reliable _ maybe the one that you need to get your partner back and forth to work to be, say a productive taxpayer. Hmmm…

4. Braces for your children (1-2 of them)

Yes braces are crazy expensive. That might cover two kids. Some people have a bit of insurance coverage for dental, but still, with two kids you’ll pay close to that.

5. A new furnace –

My new furnace cost me about $6,000 two years ago. You might spring for the air conditioner too, so you can regulate and keep your house warm and cool. Pretty vital in our area of the world.

Here’s ten ridiculous things some people buy for $10,000

One of those things is a pool table for inside your pool.

Another is gold pills.

Yet another is a rocking chair bed.

What’s my point?

That’s not what any of these people are trying to buy. Instead, they are trying to buy health care, a chance at having a family. They are trying, in several areas of Canada, to buy a chance at building a future like the picture at the start of this post.

All of these infertility patients need a champion. In BC, in Alberta and in Ontario – each of these provinces has been asked to consider funding in vitro fertilization. Each is coming close to making the decision to potentially help infertile people build strong and healthy families.


Time to Step Up

Families Shouldn’t Go Broke Trying to Pay For IVF.

It’s time for someone to step into the role and be that champion for our families. Couples and singles too shouldn’t have to pay for IVF. Who will it be: Premier Kathleen Wynne? Premier Christy Clark or Premier Alison Redford?
I am a member of Conceivable Dreams and I am their community manager as well, and as such I am compensated.  I support this cause 100 %. My opinion is my own. You can follow the conversation on line, at or on twitter. (Follow our conversation with the hashtags #ohip4ivf #onpoli)

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.


  • CraftyCanadian

    If I want something, I work for it. Why should I pay for someone else’s dreams? And just so you know…no health care is “free”! We the tax payer is paying through our noses for this. As much as I support families..I don’t support paying for someone else’s dreams. Let them do what I did…adopt!

    • Paula Schuck

      I am glad you said that. My husband and I adopted both of our children and I used to think along the same lines. But reality is when couples or singles don’t have public funding for IVF single embryo transfer they tend to remortgage a house or go into debt to pay for IVF so they risk transferring multiple embryos. They then get pregnant with twins or higher order multiples which carry extremely high lifetime health care needs. This also often carries cost in terms of maternal health being placed at risk. So the health care burden is actually lessened in many areas of the world where there is funding for IVF. So yes we pay taxes. We actually end up paying more taxes allocating more money and dressing finite health care resources when we don’t help infertile people by treating this as a health care issue. We are all playing for the same team: healthy families in Ontario. Support for adoption and infertility. That is the best possible future for Ontario and Alberta.

  • Margarita Ibbott

    WOW… that last comment was ridiculous. We all have dreams and having a child is not unusual or out of this world. If that reader actually read your blog on a regular basis, she would know that you are an adoptive parent and support that community actively.

    The more I learn about funding (limited in scope is what these couples are asking for – not unlimited funds…) the more I believe this should be funded. No nothing in life is free but everyone of these people pays into the fund as much as you did…

    Keeping supporting all those families and couples. You’re doing a great job.

  • Alexandria

    I find it interesting that people balk at having these procedures covered, but seemingly have no issue with the heavy load of other items that ARE covered by our health care. I think in order to really form any opinion, you’d have to critically examine all of what is/is not covered.

    And let’s face it, adoption isn’t for everyone, and it isn’t an easy or inexpensive solution, either.

    A little tact and sympathy would go a long way.

  • Karen Stewart

    CraftyCanadian – even though you judge other’s choices, I wouldn’t dare to judge yours. You chose adoption and I’m very pleased that it worked out so well for you. I would however encourage you to step out of your own success story for a moment and try to empathise with those who not only dream of becoming a parent to their own bilogical child but believe in their soul that it is their destiny. Nobody going through infertility and the heartbreak of disappointment is expecting a hand-out or to be given something for nothing. Understand that even through funded IVF, the drug costs alone can run up to $7500 per cycle and most of us don’t have private health insurance that offers any chance of recovery of those out of pocket expenses. Try to understand that infertility is a chronic medical condition like any of the countless conditions for which the Ontario government provides health care funding. Try to remember that while funding for IVF (or any other medical condition for that matter) does come out of the tax payers hard earned money, those suffering from the condition are contributing to that tax pool as much as you are. And finally, read the article again and focus on the fact that funded IVF in Quebec (with regulations around single embryo transfers to reduce the risk of multiples) has already proven to be less of a burden on the health care system than the cost of treating high risk pregnancies, premature neo-natal care and long term risks associated with multiple embryo tranfers. We don’t want to see the Ontario government spend more money on health care, we want to see the government spend those tax dollars responsibly on preventative/proactive measures that create healthy families rather than reactive measures to treat the multitude of risks associated with patient-paid IVF. I wish you the best of luck with your adopted family.

    • Paula Schuck

      100 % agree. The facts are clear. You save money by funding IVF and you help alleviate and prevent many health care issues. Also the WHO recognizes infertility as a complex health care issue. It’s time several other provinces started understanding the gains to be made by funding IVF.

  • Crys Wiltshire

    I think calling procreating a “dream” is not a fair statement. We’re not talking about a trip to the Caribbean, we’re talking about the given right and necessity of continuing the human race. Yes, for many it is the desire to have a family, but that doesn’t make it any less vital or important. In our country you don’t have to “work for it” if any other medical issue occurs, so why should some people have to pay out of pocket for something as major as the medical issues restricting them from having children? Without funding, IVF can put many families into financial strain or increase health risks, simply because they are trying to do the same thing that the majority of people can do so naturally. Don’t get me wrong, adoption is a wonderful alternative. Giving a home to a baby or child who needs it is beautiful. However, the choice to have a family should be equal for everyone.

  • Aeryn Lynne

    Braces really are expensive, lol. My mother continually “reminded” me while I grew up that she could have had a brand new car instead of the dental work I was given. 😉

    All kidding aside, my tax dollars currently go to places I rather they didn’t, and I don’t have a say in that matter. If I was given a choice though, I would like to see some of those funds go towards an IVF program in Ontario. Every day I mourn for the child my husband and I are most likely never going to see, and if I could help other women out with a way to avoid these physical/mental/financials issues involved with infertility, I would. Heck, I believe in adoption too. I can only imagine what life would/wouldn’t look like if my grandmother wasn’t adopted.

  • Elizabeth FrugalMomEh

    Paula, I think what I most love about this post is your reply to CraftyCanadian! I had never thought of it in those terms before, although I definitely support health care covering IVF. Thankfully we do not face fertility issues, but if we had? I can’t even begin to imagine that financial burden.

    • Paula Schuck

      Thanks Liz. The number of people that struggle with infertility shocks me even still. 1 in 6. So realistically everyone knows somebody who dealt with this issue. That’s sad.

  • Mara Shapiro

    I have witnessed friends go through the pain of infertility. It’s no worse than watching a loved one suffer from any other illness that is covered by healthcare. While the Ontario government has delisted many important services (like eye care), they also need to add to the list to cover off helping people in many ways. Maybe if our health care system was more efficient (such as offering more urgent care clinics- did you know when you go to the doctor for a flu it costs about $60 but when you go to the hospital upwards of $600? Or when people just go to the doctor over and over unnecessarily because it’s ‘free’) then there would be funds to assist people with their fertility. Why shouldn’t we help people with their dreams of having a family? Sure, adoption is a choice for many, and a good one, but so are infertility treatments.

    • Paula Schuck

      Absolutely Mara: I think personal circumstance dictates which route people take. Also adoption is a great option but not necessarily if you come to adoption after going $50,000 in debt from infertility treatment. That group of people is then further stressed and less able to meet the needs of an adoptive child.

  • YashYanth!

    A friend and I were JUST discussing this topic last night over dinner… personally know a couple friends going through the trying emotions, tribulations and costs associated with IVF and some are aren’t even able to start the journey because of the associated costs. Just wish there was some sort of funding so they could keep their dream alive. Yes some have gone down the adoption route but some really want biological kids and it’s heart wrenching that they afford to pursue that dream.

    • Paula Schuck

      Absolutely. I am an adoptive parent and I would love if everyone COULD adopt. It’s not possible for everyone. Also every area does adoption a little bit differently. Some are very limited and the system is hard to negotiate. We need supports and help for families negotiating both routes.

  • decemberbaby

    There is no “just adopt” – it’s not like you can walk into the baby pound and walk out with a child. Adoption is a long, difficult, sometimes invasive and usually expensive process, just as fertility treatment is. Every infertile couple I know (and I know a lot of them) has considered adoption, at least in passing. The choice to try IVF rather than adoption isn’t about selfishness – it’s about weighing the costs and benefits, and making the right decision for you as a family.

    • Paula Schuck

      I couldn’t have said that better myself. There is No just adopt. No easy route to that place trust me I’ve been there twice. It is hard and it is about making the right choice for your family. Also think about this – the extremely smart Pat Convery exec director of Ontario Adoption Council said this recently. This is often the same pool of people who will sometimes end up coming to adoption. But they have been through the horribly sad and financially exhausting route of infertility then they want to adopt. They come to adoption drained of resources and emotionally exhausted. How fair is that to an adopted child? It makes an adoption that much more fragile .

  • Daniela Duriavig

    I think the issue of who should pay is a complicated one. I do know, however, that with kids settling down later and later in life fertility issues are here to stay. I know my girls will want to spend their most fertile years working on their education and getting established in their careers, not having babies. This is becoming a social problem, not so much of an individual problem.

    • Colleen Beauchesne

      Just to put it out there not all infertility issues relate to age my husband and I were both in our very early 20’s when we found out we could not have kids on our own myself being only 21 at the time

    • Colleen Beauchesne

      Just to put it out there not all infertility issues relate to age my husband and I were both in our very early 20’s when we found out we could not have kids on our own myself being only 21 at the time

  • Julie Harrison

    Infertility is a medical issue that deserves medical treatment. If my hear is not working correctly, then I can get medical treatment. If my fallopian tube is not working correctly, then I should be able to get medical treatment. IVF can be a very difficult choice and process for many couples, but I have no problem supporting their choice.

  • Katie Edwards

    While adoption is a great choice for many people, women who want to conceive their own children should have that option – even if they can’t get $10,000. IVF treatment is covered in Quebec, and it’s about time the other provinces followed suit. Families who struggle with infertility deserve all the support they can get.

  • Erin

    At some point during our infertility journey – a journey still in progress mind you – we looked at adoption. Then we realized that making the decision to become part of that process wouldn’t be fair to anyone unless we were really ready, and we would never be really ready if we always had the “What if….” question hanging over our heads.

    So we gathered our resources and went ahead with IVF. We could only afford to do it once – even though we had some insurance coverage for drugs and through a health spending account – and that influenced how many eggs we made available for potential fertilization and how many of those embryos we asked to transfer. It is sad that money – as opposed to what would be better for my health or had the best chance of a successful outcome – played any factor in this decision-making at all.

  • decemberbaby

    Daniela: Maybe some couples have fertility issues because they spent their most fertile years building up their careers. I certainly didn’t. We started trying to conceive when I was 25 years old, and I wasn’t ovulating. Age and social choices may be part of the problem, but it’s not the majority of it. Infertility is, by and large, an issue of physical dysfunction – not one of aging.

  • Brooklyn Berry

    I totally agree. When I see my friends going on trips or buying nicer and larger homes I start to get jealous. Then I look at my beautiful sons and I am grateful for the modern medicine that gave them to me. I wouldn’t trade them for a dream home on a private island.
    Sadly that money doesn’t always take away trips and houses. Some people literally have to choose between children and a roof over head, or groceries. Its amazing what that money can mean to so many different people.

  • Jenna Em

    This is so sad on many fronts. These families are so mentally and physically taxed, and add the expense of paying a life’s savings in the pursuit of a dream.

  • Mom vs. the boys

    what a great eye opener! if you asked someone what they would do with that kind of money you would get some unbelievable answers, none of which should be ‘try to start a family’. how unfair!

  • Kerrie @ Family Food and Travel

    I wish that all families would be able to create their families without the costs that many incur. As I watch my friend struggle with infertility I feel so helpless to support her. We were able to conceive our children naturally and talked about adopting another child, but we absolutely could not afford it. To think there is a child out there looking for a home that we cannot provide because of money.

  • Rebecca Brooks

    Thank you to all of you who have empathy for those who cannot conceive without Assisted Reproductive Technology (A.R.T.). For those of you who lack the understanding, think of your children, or nieces, and nephews, and now imagine they didn’t exist. Everyone should have the opportunity to build a family. Kathleen Wynne, please be our hero. Funding IVF is beneficial for the province of Ontario, and for the people of Ontario.

  • Ninja Mommers

    This is clearly a hot topic. I am not going to share my views on the subject as I do not feel as though I need to debate this with others. Great post to raise awareness!

  • Lian Wright

    Wow! I can see both sides of this discussion, but I also know from friends of mine how hard it is for some people to want to conceive, yet they are not able to. I wish I could do something for them to assist their dream coming true.