Weighing The Options: Costs And Coverage
Community Cost is an important consideration for any couple that wants to have assisted reproductive treatment to help them conceive. Although government funding is offered in some provinces in others it is not, making it all the more important for a couple to understand their chances of having a healthy baby before they make any decisions.
R.N. / President, Outreach Health Services
“Quebec is the only province that offers full funding for all aspects of fertility treatment, this includes drugs, artificial insemination and all aspects of in vitro fertilization (IVF),” explained Dr. Art Leader, Chair of the Canadian Foundation for Women’s Health and a Founder of the Ottawa Fertility Centre.
In Ontario, IVF treatment was delisted in 1993 and is now only covered if the woman has bilaterally blocked fallopian tubes. Insemination of donor sperm is covered, but the purchase and preparation of the sperm, which can be costly, and any fertility medication, are not.
“Manitoba has a tax credit of forty per cent for IVF, and News Brunswick has said that they’ll introduce the same funding but they haven’t yet, due to financial constraints,” said Dr. Leader. “It’s a paradox that tubal surgery is covered in every province, yet that’s the least effective type of treatment.”
“You have the young couple who got married two years ago and they’re trying to have a family, they’ve just bought their first house, and then they find out that they’re infertile and that the treatment could possibly cost them as much as $10,000 to $15,000.”
Calculating the Costs
The cost of assisted reproductive procedures and medications means that the vast majority Canadians need some kind of financial assistance before treatment can begin.
“You’re looking at about $8,000 for the IVF treatment, and then an average of 3 to $4,000 for medication – that’s if the couple doesn’t have an insurance plan that covers those drugs,” explained Dr. Leader. “Donor sperm costs about $1000 a month and artificial insemination, with a partner’s sperm, ranges from $500 to $850 a month.”
President of Outreach Health Services, Heather Brooks, has witnessed firsthand the impact that the financial implications of fertility treatment can have on a couple who don’t have a substantial disposable income.
“That has a huge impact on your self worth, your relationship, your financial status. I know couples that have put a second mortgage on their homes to pay for treatments, that’s how desperately people want to have a child.”
By: Joe Rosengarten