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Infertility Affects More People Than You Think

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Conceivable Dreams, the grassroots patient organization representing thousands of infertile couples across Ontario is trying to raise awareness about a very worthy cause, Infertility. Infertile couples suffer more than you may think, as they struggle to have what we all have, a family of our own. The closeness, the bond, the camaraderie and the love. It is all there for prospective parents to give. The barrier these couples try to overcome is Infertility. The other hindrance is usually cost.

If these loving, caring couples had the opportunity, they would try just about anything to conceive a child of their very own. The upcoming provincial election may give us a soapbox to stand on, and quite possibly convince the winning party to supply funding to cover the costs of in-vitro fertilization (IVF).

Conceivable Dreams has compiled some very moving and staggering statistics in favor of these costs being covered. Due to the fact that many couples are financially strapped by having to pay for IVF, they tend to use more than one embryo to increase the success rate of conception. The increased number of embryos results in many cases in couples having pregnancies of more than one child.

The province of Quebec has, for the past 2 plus years been covering the costs of IVF with some very positive results. The multiple births are more likely to need extra medical care, whether that is from premature delivery or a caesarean section for the mother. There are obviously substantial costs involved in surgical procedures. The argument being that if the children are born healthier, and then the costs should not be there.

I am by no means a doctor or claim to be a medical professional, but I am smart enough to realize that Conceivable Dreams is onto something special, not to mention, important.

Provincial politicians have a moral obligation to their constituents to at least review the data and make an educated decision in regards to possible funding. I guess you know where I stand on this issue. Having struggled with it myself, I say, cover the costs. The trade off is definitely worth it.

Since I first wrote about Conceivable Dreams trying to promote funding coverage for IVF, I have received many heartfelt responses from readers in favor of having the province cover the costs. I will share one such response with you.

"In 2000, it was discovered that I had an early second trimester Interstitial pregnancy. This is incredibly dangerous and so I was hospitalized for weeks and a specialist was called in to do surgery to remove the pregnancy. This surgery left me with internal damage and massive scar tissue, leaving me infertile. After recovery, my husband and I started to try again using ovulation predictors and timed intercourse, but we had no luck. In 2002, we sought out help from a specialist. We did 3 rounds of medicated IUI but all were unsuccessful. I underwent multiple surgeries and procedures to try and correct some of the internal damage before moving on to IVF.
Our first IVF attempt resulted in enough embryos for one fresh transfer and five frozen transfers, but all were either unsuccessful or ended in a chemical pregnancy. We decided to try again and our second IVF attempt resulted in one fresh cycle and three frozen cycles, we added a technique called Assisted Hatching to our protocol, but yet again we were unsuccessful. We decided to continue and try again and our third cycle resulted in one fresh cycle and two frozen cycles.... Finally we had success from a frozen embryo transfer (FET) and in 2009 after an uncomplicated pregnancy we had a son.
In total, we did 3 IUI, 13 cycles of IVF/FET and more surgeries/procedures than I care to talk about.

Assisted reproduction is extremely expensive and stressful and I believe that it should be covered for multiple reasons. Statistics indicate that on average, it takes 3 attempts at IVF before conceiving and the costs can be incredibly expensive. Your "basic" IVF can cost upwards of $10000 and if you need other treatments such as ICSI, cryopreservation, assisted hatching, blastocyst transfer or any genetic screening the cost can increase dramatically.

Economically, funding makes sense because in the long run the number of embryos transferred could be limited, and thus reduce some of the high risk pregnancies and premature deliveries. IVF is a very costly endeavor and many times patients can only afford one attempt, which occasionally creates a sense of desperation and a willingness to take risks, such as, wanting to transfer more than the 2 or (occasionally) 3 embryos. If this patient happens to encounter a doctor/clinic with shady morality you could potentially encounter the reproductive stereotypes that we see in the news.

Funding would allow those that could only afford one attempt to try again, and if successful create future tax paying citizens who will more than repay the debt that their conception created. Funding may also let potential parents make decisions based on rational thinking and not emotion, and not resorting to measures such as high interest loans or second or third mortgages that most cannot afford anyway. The money that they have saved by avoiding those measures would likely be recirculated into the economy.

Infertility treatments are a race against the biological clock, but the clock and wallet don't always cooperate and that causes excess stress, which has been shown to reduce implantation rates. A catch-22 to say the least. Also, I personally feel that infertility is a medical condition and should be treated as such. OHIP will provide coverage to those who don't want to conceive and even to those who wish to terminate a pregnancy, but they won't help those who desperately want to be parents. It almost borders on discrimination. The conception of our son required a lot more than just the decision to try and a night of passion, it required immense pain, financial hardship, stress and many tears. But in the end, he was worth it. I thank god daily for our child and wish only the best for those who this funding would help. Lets make the opportunities for child rearing count and fund this wonderful medical procedure." by Cassandra 

Lets make the right decision and help those who struggle with infertility.