Eventually, after thousands of dollars spent and a tremendous emotional toll on everyone, baby Cameron arrived by C-section November 17, 2011. An IVF success story, but with a tremendous price for family. A price he is absolutely worth. But still. There are days when Katrina Vedan-Millar still thinks she should have moved to Quebec where health care for infertile people means IVF is covered when necessary to conceive.
Karen Miller is Katrina’s Mom, and she is as vocal as her daughter about fighting for public funding for in vitro fertilization. Miller, a real estate agent, says this: “The baby she ended up having is really the whole family’s baby because everyone played a part in helping get that baby born whether it was helping pay for treatment, making food or just looking after her. I feel lucky to gain a grandson, but I don’t understand…Almost all of her friends have had to under go some sort of assistance in the fertility department. What is going on out there with women today? I wish we knew more about endometriosis, like what causes it?”
Katrina suffered with endometriosis most of her life, but it went undiagnosed until she turned 32, around the time she started trying to get pregnant. She tried to have a baby for two years unsuccessfully. With the support of her husband and extended family, Katrina did cycle monitoring, acupuncture and read books about how to eat better and what to do to help boost chances. Then they were referred to a well known fertility clinic in Toronto.
Katrina said they started to consider a move to Quebec where the government covers the full treatment amount. In the end they spent close to $30,000 trying to get pregnant.
“I don’t understand why Ontario doesn’t cover the treatments. It’s not cosmetic. Don’t they want us to have children? Aren’t children supposed to be the future? It makes me both sad and angry.”
In Canada, Quebec is the only province that covers in vitro fertilization. There funding is available for three rounds of treatment where single embryo transfer is the standard. Single embryo transfer results in healthier outcomes for babies and mothers. Right now several patient groups across Canada are advocating for public funding for in vitro fertilization. One of those groups is Conceivable Dreams.
“Financially, ivf drained us. We used all the money we had and thank goodness we got lucky and had a child, but the financial toll has left us in a bit of hot water because we spent the money for daycare or a caregiver. I can’t go back to work full time, until we can afford to leave him. I never really stopped working since he was born. So instead of sleeping when he sleeps, most nights; nap times for me are spent working on my laptop doing as much contract work as I can. I’m pooped and would love to be rested but we have a mortgage, car payments, groceries, diapers, etc to pay for and on top of all that we have to dig ourselves out of the financial hole this put us in.”
Grandma Karen Millar says it was devastating watching her daughter struggle with endometriosis. “It was hard to see my daughter go through so much pain. She did a lot of cycles and miscarried on a few of those. It was emotionally and financially taxing for her and for us watching from the sidelines.
“I am happy there was a happy ending. Katrina could have fallen into a hole of depression had she not had a baby at all. It was difficult for my husband and I to see and fully understand why our daughter could not get pregnant. None of our family members have endometriosis.”
Karen says her daughter spent a lot of money flying to Florida to get treatment she thought would help the endometriosis. She also spent a lot of money on acupuncture and various treatments over the years of trying.
“We have helped with some of the costs, but they are mind-blowing. Luckily, she works with us because otherwise she would be out of work with the amount of time she has had to take off due to the pain from her endometriosis, and the challenges of IVF.”
You can join to call for public funding for IVF in Ontario by following Conceivable Dreams on Twitter. They are also on Facebook and Pinterest. I am community manager for Conceivable Dreams. My opinion is all my own.