1 in 6 people struggle with infertility. I talk about that often here in this space. Why? Because I believe in a Canadian health care system that is accessible and great. And because infertility is a hard emotional and financial journey. It is devastating to far too many. That’s part of the reason why I help advocate for public funding for IVF.
Couples, and singles, who are diagnosed with infertility, are sometimes prescribed In vitro fertilization as the best course of action. In Vitro Fertilization is a process by which sperm and egg are introduced in a lab and left to do their magic. The resulting embryo is then placed into the waiting uterus. The IVF procedure itself is not covered in Alberta at all. In fact it costs anywhere between $8,000 to $14,000 including drugs. That cost is a crazy burden to place on anyone requiring medical treatment just to conceive. Infertility is, in fact, a complex medical condition as outlined by the World Health Organization. So how do people pay for IVF in Alberta?
Well, Brooke Berry worked three jobs to scrimp for the money to pay for health care treatment. She writes about her infertility journey on her beautiful blog, Brooklyn Berry Designs.
Many people take out a second mortgage. Some use credit cards and others crowd fund. A few borrow from parents. Many give up. And that’s not right or good for the province.
In Alberta right now we are at a critical juncture for infertility advocates and public funding advocates. This fall, the province chose a new premier, Jim Prentice. A report by the University of Alberta (The Assisted Reproductive Technologies report) has been under review by the Alberta government for months now. That review is expected to be finished soon. That report found that the province of Alberta can save up to $97 million by coupling public funding with single embryo transfer for those who need IVF. In Canada, now Quebec has public funding for IVF and Ontario soon will have funding. Their program is expected to be up and running by 2015. In Manitoba there is a tax credit process that helps alleviate some of the costs of IVF. And this year New Brunswick implemented a one time $5,000 rebate for IVF treatment. More provinces are understanding the benefits to funding IVF with SET.
That means this is an extremely important time for advocating and making your voice heard. How can you do that?
Here are Three Things You Can Do to Help Advocate for Public Funding for IVF.
1. Call Your MLA: IN PERSON MEETING – set up a time to go in and share your story. Personal stories are powerful and they make a difference. MLAs actually want to hear from their constituents on important issues. Healthy family building in this province is extremely important.
You can find your local Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) by visiting: http://streetkey.elections.ab.ca. Here, you will also find their email address, local constituency office location and phone number.
In person meetings are the most powerful way to affect change. But you can still make a difference and make your opinion known..in other ways too. This guide can walk you through all the details. http://www.generationsofhope.ca/meetingyourmla.pdf
2. Call Your MLA: Phone If you can’t get in to see the MLA in person a phone call can be valuable too. Remind them you are a constituent and that this is important to you. As well, remember to point out that the best outcome for maternal and infant health is single embryo transfer with public funding for IVF. The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada has stated this in a position paper. And several other countries that fund IVF know this to be true as well.
3. Tweet and Share your Message Via Social Media:
Social media and social change go hand in hand. Politicians and journalists all pay attention to twitter. It is their news source. So get tweeting. Follow http://www.twitter.com/gensofhope and always tweet with these two hashtags #abhc4ivf #abpoli. You can attach the hashtags to the end of your tweets. Remember to be polite. Simple tweets with factual information are perfect.
“Did you know Alberta could save $97 million by funding IVF with SET #abhc4ivf #abpoli”
I am community manager for Generations of Hope and I wholeheartedly support public funding for IVF because it builds healthy families. I am also a member of the blog team for Generations of Hope and as such I am compensated. My opinion is all mine.