Removing Barriers for Ontarians Who Want to Grow Their Families
Ontario is expanding access to fertility services to help an additional 4,000 Ontarians grow their families each year. Starting in December 2015, Ontario will begin to expand access to in vitro fertilization (IVF) services for Ontarians with all forms of infertility, regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation or family status. Currently, Ontario only provides funding toward the cost of IVF for women with blocked fallopian tubes.
“Infertility is a serious issue that affects thousands of Ontarians who have dreams of starting their own families. Children are our future and, by creating a more equitable and accessible fertility program, the government is supporting family-building for those who couldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to have children.”
Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
It is estimated that one in six Ontario couples is affected by infertility at some point in their lives. To help Ontarians grow their families, the province will fund one IVF cycle per eligible patient per lifetime. One cycle includes one egg retrieval, which may yield multiple eggs and result in multiple embryos. The funding would include the one-at-a-time transfer of all viable embryos to allow for the possibility of multiple chances for pregnancy and to reduce the occurrence of higher-risk multiple births.
The province is also working with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario to ensure that patients receive the highest quality fertility services, whether services are received in a hospital or in a non-hospital fertility clinic. Quality assurance in hospital-based fertility clinics will continue to be managed through the Public Hospitals Act.
In order to ensure patient safety, access and program effectiveness, the province has struck an Implementation Advisory Working Group to advise on best practices for the implementation of Ontario’s expanded fertility services program.
“Thank you to the Ontario government and the expert panel of advisors for taking the time to ensure this much needed program will be done right. This announcement sends a clear and powerful message that infertility is a legitimate health issue and medical condition. Our message to the thousands of Ontarians and Canadians suffering silently is to talk to your doctor and learn the facts about infertility – you can safely have a healthy child and the government will be there to help. It is our hope that similar policies and programs will soon be enacted in other provinces throughout Canada.”
Sandra Alsaffawi-David, Director, Conceivable Dreams and patient representative from the Advisory Process on Infertility Services
Expanding access to fertility services is part of the government’s plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which is providing patients with faster access to the right care, better home and community care, the information they need to stay healthy and a health care system that’s sustainable for generations to come.
- Women up to age 42, after speaking to their health care provider to determine if IVF is the most appropriate family-building option for them, will be eligible for IVF funding. For clarity, age 42 means 42 years of age plus 364 days.
- The age determination is a recommendation from the Advisory Process for Infertility Services. Specific medical circumstances should also be discussed with health care providers as this will impact the determination of the most appropriate family building options.
- The Advisory Process for Infertility Services established in October 2014 included physicians, lab directors and patients with lived experience of infertility. The expansion of access to IVF treatments in Ontario is based on their findings.
- IVF is a complex medical procedure where an egg is retrieved and then fertilized by sperm outside the body, and the resulting embryo is then transferred to the uterus for implantation.
- Patients receiving IVF and supporting services must be eligible for OHIP coverage and have a valid health card.
- Ontario is adding an investment of $50 million a year to expand access to IVF treatments, in addition to the $20 million per year currently spent on assisted reproduction services.
- Ontario is also helping to grow families by strengthening the adoption system to help more children and youth find forever homes and to help more families care for their adopted children and youth.
- Report from Advisory Process for Infertility Services
- Ontario Helping More Children in Care Connect with Waiting Families