Mummy Buzz


IVF Envy Over Provincial Funding

It's Not Who You Know, It's Where You Live

Carly Weiner has a bone to pick with the Ontario government. Although she was born in Quebec, when she moved to Ontario several years ago, little did she know it would hit her so hard in the pocket. Or that it might even cost her a family. You could say that Weiner is suffering from IVF envy.

"I just wish Ontario could offer the same support as Quebec," says Weiner.

One year ago this week, Quebec became the only province in Canada to fully fund up to three rounds of in vitro fertilization (IVF). Already 4,000 free rounds have been performed, resulting in an estimated 900 pregnancies.

Sadly for Weiner, who had to fork over $25,000 of her own cash, she had no such assistance and has yet to fall pregnant. In Ontario, each round of IVF costs around $10,000.

Although Ontario had planned to pass similar legislation to its eastern neighbour -- with Premier Dalton McGuinty previously vowing to help couples struggling to conceive -- the province has so far failed to put its money where its mouth is.

The impetus behind the funding stems from the fact that so many twins and triplets are born out of private IVF treatments in which more than a single embryo being implanted in order to increase the odds of conception. Multiple pregnancies often lead to premature deliveries and extra neonatal care, all of which burdens the health care system.

While it's clearly unfair that only the wealthy should be able to undergo IVF treatment (which suggests that starting a family is somehow a privilege of the elite few), critics question whether it might make more sense to simply regulate the transfer of embryos performed at private clinics.

For now, though, Weiner, and countless women just like her, are no closer to realizing her dream of having a child. Which begs the question: should IVF be funded in Ontario, too? Or should vital health care funding go towards tackling conditions such as obesity and cancer?