Public Funding for IVF in Ontario: Can We Afford to Wait? #ohip4ivf #onpoli

Public funding  for IVF advocate Dr. Marjorie Dixon
Dr. Marjorie Dixon

Back in April we heard the happy news that IVF (in vitro fertilization) would be funded in Ontario. Then suddenly an election was called and infertility patients were worried the promise of IVF funding would die before it even had a chance to be reality. But then, in an amazing twist, the Ontario Liberal party won a majority under Premier Kathleen Wynne. The Liberal government promise was good. The Wynne government confirmed that public funding for IVF in Ontario would be reality in 2015. It was a cause to celebrate. It still is a cause to celebrate.

In Canada an estimated 1 in 6 people of reproductive age struggle with infertility. Infertility is a complex health issue according to the World Health Organization. Forty per cent of infertility is male factor and another 40 per cent is female factor. Twenty per cent of infertility is undetermined causes. In fact 47 per cent of Canadians have been impacted by infertility. There are some couples who never understand the reasons for their infertility and others who have very specific causes related to other health conditions. People with endometriosis, PCOS, Crohn’s Disease, premature ovarian failure, prior surgeries, and cancer sometimes also experience infertility directly related to their disease. For some of those patients IVF is the recommended course of action. But IVF carries a price tag of $8,000 to $13,000 and is not affordable to the average family. Many will not be able to afford the health care treatment. In Quebec IVF is funded. In Manitoba there is a tax credit for infertility treatment and in areas of the world like Australia and New Zealand there are various different funding models. In reality, all funding commitments help. Currently the cost is extreme in Ontario. Patients, and many doctors too, are anxious to see what public funding for IVF in Ontario will look like.

But, in the last few months, there hasn’t been much information shared with patients. Members who started the advocacy ball rolling seven years ago started to get worried. No news isn’t always good news.

Many infertility patients feel routinely like they are living life on a roller coaster of emotions. Infertility is a complex health care issue that can be devastating both financially and emotionally. It is also very often extremely time sensitive. The treatment plan and the end result all depend on time. As we finish up the final months of 2014 with a promise that funding will happen some time in 2015, many patients are wondering when it will happen and what exactly the program will look like. Will there be restrictions? Waitlists? What can I expect?

If you are an infertility patient in Ontario, or someone who cares about an infertility patient, you need to join us this Wednesday night at 8 p.m. EST for a Linked Moms chat about public funding for IVF. This is a very special chat with guest Dr. Marjorie Dixon, medical director at First Steps Fertility in Toronto. Dixon is a well known expert in the field of reproductive medicine. She is an advocate for funding and has been a regular guest health expert on City Line. Dixon is also an assistant professor at the University of Toronto. Dr. Dixon was also consulted during the original Raising Expectations report commissioned several years ago that examined infertility and adoption policies in Ontario.

Join us this Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST when we ask what should we expect from a program to fund IVF? Is there any new information? Can we afford to wait? All patients in Ontario need to be here for this special twitter party event.

Please follow @DrMarjorieDixon




and @ohip4ivf

and finally @thexaviers Conveivable Dreams acting president and infertility advocate Danielle Xavier.

Don’t forget we tweet with hashtags #ohip4ivf #onpoli

This is what the reaction looked like when the initial announcement took place in Ontario. Patients are still positive, but because infertility is such a time sensitive diagnosis, they need answers on what the timeline looks like so they can plan their treatment and make important life decisions.

This was the most recent post about the ew health care policy shared here:

I am community manager for Conceivable Dreams and as such I am compensated. My opinion is all my own and this is a group I wholeheartedly support.

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