Toronto, ON, January 15, 2021 – This month marks the five-year anniversary of the Ontario Fertility Program. Since its launch, it has helped more than 50,000 Ontarians fulfill their dream of starting or expanding their families by reducing the significant financial burden that comes with assisted reproductive services (ART).
“It’s been a hard year for everyone and continued access to funded fertility treatment has made it a little easier for people who want to start or expand their families,” said Tara Wood, President of the patient advocacy group, Conceivable Dreams. “Ontario has shown great leadership with the Ontario Fertility Program and proved to other provinces that is possible to provide funded IVF through government policies and programs.”
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the most effective ART, though it often takes more than one cycle to achieve a pregnancy. With an average cost of $20,000, it is unattainable for many families. The OFP reduces this high financial barrier by funding one cycle of IVF and providing fertility preservation for those with a medical reason.
“Supporting families has always been a priority for our government, and through the Ontario Fertility Program, we have been able to help over 50,000 families grow,” said Christine Elliott, Ontario’s Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “We are proud to be leaders in fertility treatment as one of the only provinces to offer financial support for patients seeking to start or expand their families.”
To date, 26,394 people have received funded IVF, 35,812 have received funded IUI and 2,385 have received funded fertility preservation services. The OFP also mandated a single embryo transfer (to reduce the risk of multiples) which data has shown are more likely to result in a full-term, healthy baby. This data-driven practice change has reduced the multiple pregnancy rate in Ontario from 18.8% in 2013 to 5.8% in 2018. Even without a mandate, most clinics are following this ‘best practice’ resulting in healthier babies born after IVF treatment and significantly reducing health care costs.
Supporting Canadians in creating families may be more important now than ever. While media have been reporting on the COVID-19 ‘baby boom’, the reality is Canada’s birth rate is on the decline. Last year, Statistics Canada reported the total fertility rate declined to 1.47 births per woman, the lowest ever recorded, and the economic recession is only expected to further reduce this number.
Next month, to further help Canadians make families Conceivable Dreams and Fertility Matters Canada will launch Fertility Benefits Matter. New research shows that the majority of Canadian employers do not provide fertility benefits and those that do, don’t provide nearly enough to help people create the family they want. This campaign will call on employers to update their antiquated benefits plan to better support employees.
About Conceivable Dreams
Conceivable Dreams is a volunteer-run patient group that advocates for equitable access to fertility treatments. Since 2008, Conceivable Dreams has led the public movement towards achieving government funding for IVF in Ontario and now has a national mandate to improve fertility benefits. Learn more at ConceivableDreams.org.
For more information
Board President, Conceivable Dreams