Usually the holidays roll around and the season itself is cause for sadness among those who are trying to conceive, struggling with infertility. That may be the case still for some people, because infertility is emotionally, physically and financially draining, but this coming year there is good reason to hope and be optimistic and thankful too. So as we close 2014 I thought it was important to take a moment and reflect on what we have accomplished in Ontario and remind people of what’s happening with IVF funding in 2015.
So here’s what we know about Ontario’s IVF funding program in 2015:
1. $50 million has been promised for an IVF funding program in Ontario.
2. That should help an estimated 4,000 people a year. That might look like one fresh cycle and two frozen. Might.
3. The new program is being worked on right now and will be ready some time in 2015.
4. Doctor Marjorie Dixon has indicated that patients should not wait if they have been advised to proceed with treatment. Time is of the essence when dealing with infertility.
5. There are patient members on the advisory board to the government helping to decide on what the program looks like.
6. There will be eligibility criteria in place. There is almost always a cut off age in areas of the world where funding occurs presently. Criteria might be age. There might be an income test for the program. Criteria are crucial to setting up a sustainable and cost effective program.
7. Canada has come a long way in terms of funding IVF in the last two years. While Quebec recently did a review of their program, they did decide to keep the program. (It has however changed dramatically.) The fact that the program has been kept speaks to the reality that this is a very useful and successful program worth maintaining. Alberta is making progress and advocates there are hopeful. Quebec still has some funding as does New Brunswick. Manitoba has a tax credit model.
8. With Ontario’s commitment, areas of Canada that don’t offer any funding or rebates for IVF are now in the minority in Canada.
We have come so far in this past year and we all deserve a pat on the back. But at the same time, the journey is never over. The most successful patient groups remain in tact and motivated. In the last couple of years I have spent a lot of time educating myself on successful patient advocacy groups. Australia’s infertility patient group is extremely successful and has been over the long term because they are always able to mobilize support when a government suggests or hints that cuts might be coming to fertility funding programs. This is the ideal way forward in my opinion. After the program itself rolls out and many have accessed and built healthy families then I believe patient advocates should remain committed and involved.
If you need more reasons why IVF funding programs make sense you can read this post.
I am community manager for Conceivable Dreams. I while heartedly support this cause.