Ontario delays funding announcement for in-vitro fertilization treatments

By on September 30, 2015

(Shutterstock image)
(Shutterstock image)

TORONTO – Would-be parents waiting to learn more about the Ontario government’s funding of in-vitro fertilization treatments will have to wait a little longer.

Health Minister Eric Hoskins had been expected to announce details of the province’s IVF plan today, but has decided to wait a little longer in order to hold more consultations.

Hoskins wouldn’t say if the province will accept the recommendations of an expert panel that wants to exclude morbidly obese women and those over the age of 42 from funding for IVF.

Some patient advocates want the government to fund IVF for any woman who wants it, regardless of age and weight.

NDP health critic France Gelinas says the Liberals should make their decision based on scientific evidence, not on what will get them the most votes.

About two per cent of births in Ontario are a result of IVF, and Hoskins says the people will be able to get funding for the service before the end of this year.

The government announced last April that Ontario will become only the second province after Quebec to fund in-vitro fertilization for people unable to have children otherwise, and will pay the cost of one “cycle” of IVF treatment per patient.

The Liberals set up an advisory body to make sure high-quality practices are followed, including ensuring that only one embryo is used per treatment. So-called single-embryo transfer has been shown elsewhere to cut the number of twins, triplets and other multiple births that result from IVF treatments.

Patients paying for the service out of pocket now usually have two or more embryos transferred to increase their chances of pregnancy.