Genesis Fertility Centre Supports the Call for Funding In-Vitro Fertilization in Canada

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Genesis Fertility Centre fully supports the position statement issued by the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS) calling for the provision of publicly funded in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) treatment across Canada.

IVF--especially when just a single embryo is transferred--is an effective and safe procedure. We are seeing success rates with elective single embryo transfer (eSET) of over 60% in women under the age of 36.

More than 350,000 Canadian couples struggle with infertility. For many, IVF is their best or only chance of getting pregnant. Yet Canada, with the exception of Quebec, which is currently working out a formula for funding, is one of the only developed countries where IVF is not publicly funded.

Dr. Al Yuzpe, co-founder and co-director of Genesis Fertility Centre in Vancouver, has served on the CFAS board and has been advocating for provincial funding for IVF since the mid 1980's.

"Infertility is a serious medical condition and emotionally devastating for the couples that are struggling to have a family. Why is it that British Columbia funds infertility testing yet won't fund the most effective treatment for infertility?" asks Yuzpe. "IVF--especially when just a single embryo is transferred--is an effective and safe procedure. We are seeing success rates with elective single embryo transfer (eSET) of over 60% in women under the age of 36."

Dr. Jeff Nisker, in his article Distributive Justice and Infertility Treatment in Canada, argues that because most Canadian women cannot afford IVF and single embryo transfer they may opt for less expensive fertility drugs or less effective but publicly funded surgical procedures--both of which have a high risk of multiple pregnancy. As a result, Canada is in the unenviable position of having one of the highest multiple pregnancy rates associated with infertility treatment in the developed world.

Not only would publicly-funded IVF alleviate significant financial and emotional hardship among couples suffering from infertility, but economic studies show that it would be a great cost savings to the public health care system. Says Dr. Yuzpe, "Multiples have been glamourized by shows like Kate and Jon Plus 8, but what people don't know is that a high percentage of the children who are part of a multiple birth are born prematurely and often require specialized medical care. Many of these babies have health problems, some of which may be long-term in nature, that land them in the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit for weeks or even months."

Yuzpe is hopeful that the CFAS position paper, along with the hard economic and health data, will get the BC Government to reconsider funding for IVF.

For more information or to speak to Dr. Yuzpe, please contact Mairi Campbell 778-885-5300 mairi(dot)Campbell(at)telus(dot)net.

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