Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"Infertility and the state"

On Monday, the Toronto Star ran an editorial about the new expert panel on infertility & adoption that was announced last week (& which I blogged about).

I'm copying the editorial here, but go online & read some of the comments that have been left… why oh why must anything to do with infertility, pregnancy loss or adoption always turn into a debate about the A word??

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Infertility and the state

Jul 14, 2008

For Ontarians who want to have a child, finding out they are infertile is an agonizing experience that can lead to years of futility and expensive treatment bills.

If in the end if they are still unable to conceive, they can run into a new wall of red tape and bureaucracy when they try to adopt.

So it is welcome news that the province has set up a 12-member expert panel to advise the government on how to make infertility treatments and adoption more accessible and affordable. Its members include adoptive parents and those with infertility problems as well as representatives from both the medical and adoption communities.

Infertility affects one in six women over the age of 30, which makes it a growing problem in an era when many people are postponing children until later in life.

The panel will have to deal with some thorny questions around who should pay for new fertility treatments, a great many of which are not currently covered by OHIP.

Between 1985 and 1994, the province paid all the costs of in-vitro fertilization. Before that time, most couples undergoing IVF were upper-middle-class professionals who could afford to pay. In the years when it was publicly funded, there was a sharp increase in the number of lower-income couples using IVF, Ontario data showed.

But troubling questions remain, including: Is infertility treatment "medically necessary," which means it must be covered by OHIP? Or is it unrealistic to expect our increasingly overburdened health-care system to pick up the costs for treatments that have a relatively low success rate?

The panel will have to weigh these questions carefully.


  1. You know, that second to last paragraph has me upset. What is the relatively low success rate? And what is medically necessary? Do they pay for glasses? People can live without glasses. Maybe not as well, but they have, for centuries.
    Biased? Who, me? Of course I am, dammit!

  2. Wow, I don't envy that panel. They're going to have to walk such a fine line...let's face it, the system can't afford unlimited ART, but by not funding it, they're maintaining a two tier medical system in which only the financially fortunate will have access to treatment. As for adoption, having researched it in two provinces and one territory, I have to say that Ontario really needs an overhaul.


  3. Well, I got offended at the so called low success rate, because my clinic has a success rate of 50% with fresh cycles---even with the over 35 crowd.

    Stupid editorial writers...

    As for the a-word, well the problem is that in this province it has been handled very very poorly for many years. Right now CAS is refusing to even allow the ombudsman to investigate complaints against them and they have wasted billions according to the auditors...yet more kids than ever are without families, and the public view is that they are all saints.

    As for IF...they really do have to fund it all without limits. They fund every other damn thing.....

  4. Aurelia -- I meant that other, much more controversial "A" word. ; ) Although I totally agree with your comment!