Advocates call for fertility treatment coverage

May 20, 2013

Jeremy Nuttall

24 Hours Vancouver



Fertility awareness advocates are arguing infertility should be treated as a medical condition and covered by government health care, pointing to a recent online survey showing broad public support.

The survey, sponsored by Today’s Parent Magazine and EMD pharmaceutical company, was conducted by Rogers Connect Market Research and surveyed 1,104 people.

According to Rogers, a little more than 15% of those polled had fertility treatment and 36% said they had trouble conceiving.

Fertility advocates argue having children is a right and many people end up infertile through no fault of their own.

Casandra Sullivan is one of them after she had to have her fallopian tubes removed. She is now getting in vitro fertilization treatment to conceive.

The Surrey woman said even with additional health coverage she still expects the procedure to cost as much as $10,000.

“I’m very fortunate because I have good coverage through my work,” Sullivan said. “So my prescriptions are covered, but that in itself could run you $2,000 to $7,000.”

What 83% of women who answered a recent survey of mothers want is for Victoria to treat infertility as a medical condition and another 70% agreed treatment like Sullivan’s should receive government financial assistance.

Those arguing for such coverage said the right to have a child is not the only reason government should explore the idea.

Fertility doctor Jason Hitkari of the Olive Fertility Centre in Vancouver said funding fertility in Quebec has actually saved the province money.

Because two eggs are often used to increase the chances of conception during IFV, he said the probability of having twins jumped from 1.5% to 30%.

“Twins [can] come early, they could spend a month in the hospital and that’s very expensive,” Hitkari said. “So the Quebec government said, ‘we’ll fund fertility treatment, such as IVF, but you guys have to not make so many multiples.’”

Multiple pregnancies through IVF have been reduced to below 10% since Quebec began covering the costs of the treatment. But it does not allow so many eggs to be used during it, according to that province’s health ministry.

The drop in multiple births has resulted in as much as $60 million in savings per year.

Hitkari said government aid would be a big boost to couples trying to conceive because many are younger and without the large sums of money needed to pay for fertility treatment.

Inclusion of all gender and sexually diverse people is an important value of Olive Fertility Centre. We are continuously striving to create an environment of compassionate belonging where all of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community are supported, valued and respected.

Olive Fertility Centre resides on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Tsleil-waututh Nations (Vancouver and Surrey clinics), of the Lekwungen people (Victoria clinic), of the syilx/Okanagan people (Kelowna clinic) and of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation (Blossom Fertility clinic in Prince George).

© 2022-2024 Olive Fertility Centre. All Rights Reserved.