Women in Ontario will be able to get government-funded fertility treatments in 50 clinics across the province, starting today.
The province made the announcement on Monday after a recent Toronto Star investigation found that the province’s $50-million a year infertility program was being run with little direction, forcing clinics to run lotteries to accommodate demand for the program and patients onto long wait lists.
The province made the list of clinics public online Monday, and clarified how the program will work:
Ontario will fund one cycle of in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle per patient, per lifetime, and unlimited rounds of artificial insemination for eligible people
One cycle of IVF includes one egg retrieval, which may yield multiple eggs and result in multiple embryos.
The program will also cover the cost of 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.
Government will continue to work with the fertility implementation advisory working group to monitor wait lists, implementation issues, and success of the program.
“Infertility is a serious issue that affects thousands of Ontarians who have dreams of starting their own families,” said Health Minister Eric Hoskins. “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,” he said in a release.
IVF is a medical procedure where fertility-stimulating hormones are typically injected into the body to produce a high number of eggs that are retrieved and then fertilized by sperm outside of the body. The embryo that results is transferred to the uterus to be implanted. That whole process constitutes one cycle, the ministry says.
The program is open to women under the age of 43, and who have been determined to be good candidates for IVF, and also single people or same-sex couples.
The funding is expected to support over 5,000 Ontarians a year, who are trying to start or expand a family. It is estimated that one in six Ontario couples is affected by infertility.