Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ontario government hopes we'll all "just adopt"

There was an article in today's Toronto Star -- an opinion piece, actually -- that had me alternately cheering & cringing. What had me cheering:

  • The fact that infertility was in the news (always good to see).

  • The article was prominently placed on page 3.

  • The pointed acknowledgement that while politicians love to cultivate an image of being "family friendly," they don't always put their money where their mouths are.

  • The fact that the Ontario government is (finally!) moving ahead to adopt recommendations made by its expert panel on family building that will make it easier for Ontario families to adopt.

  • It's also working on the recommendations related to increased fertility monitoring and a public awareness campaign on fertility issues.

  • Having someone else notice -- as I did months ago -- that the Ontario government is making all the right noises about the panel's recommendations on adoption -- while giving short shrift to other recommendations, namely to provide funding for IVF ("a political minefield").

  • The acknowledgement that, as I suspected, this is no accident, but a deliberate political strategy.
What had me cringing:

  • The headline in the newspaper read "The heartbreak and politics of test tube babies." I notice that the online story is headlined "The heartbreak and politics of forming families." Someone must have noticed and complained.

  • The story makes multiple repeated references to "implanting embryos" -- when all of us who have been through infertility know very well that embryos implant themselves (maybe, if we're very lucky) -- after they are "transferred."

  • The fact that that government is, in fact, deliberately favouring the warm & fuzzy option of adoption while trying to sweep the more controversial subject of funding for IVF under the carpet -- at least until after the next provincial election.

  • The columnist suggests that the government should mandate SET -- but still have would-be parents foot the bill, of course.

  • Apparently, the Minister of Health has been convinced by "health economists" that paying for IVF "is not as revenue neutral as I had hoped it would be." (!)

  • The comments attached to the story (are you surprised?).

For me, what it boils down to is this: by favouring adoption over IVF, the government of Ontario is essentially telling infertile people they can "just adopt." Which makes me wonder just how much they learned about infertility & building families from the whole exercise. Apparently they only read part of the expert panel's report.

Adoption is a wonderful option for some families -- and it's true that there is plenty of room for improvement in making adoption easier to navigate for Ontario families. (I've heard the stories from friends who have adopted through the public system here. It's no picnic.)

But IMHO, adoption should be just that -- an option. Adoption may or may not be right or desirable for everyone. The expert panel recognized this, and also recognized the many valid reasons why infertility treatment should receive public funding.

I'm not one for stirring up trouble or confrontation. But with a federal election under way, & a provincial election looming, we need to roll back the carpet & ensure this issue gets a full and fair airing.


  1. This makes me livid; I could barely finish reading this. I don't live in Ontario anymore but what can I do to help? Please let me know.

  2. Thank you for rolling back that carpet. I'm heading over to read the article.

  3. Manitoba recently introduced a personal tax credit, up to 40% of the cost of treatment and drugs. I hope Ontario can follow suit.

    Thanks for the link to the article, I'll have a read, although the comments on these stories are always disheartening, to say the least.

  4. Ugh. I don't like the sensationalist angle of this opinion piece. Why does it have to be either/or?

  5. We had about $5k in my insurance to help us with our first IVF attempt. We were on our own after that. And of course, after that we were on our own. I don't read comments after articles on infertility and IVF, there are always the same.