Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Ontario Experts Recommend IVF for All Except Women Over 42

The expert panel recommended IVF for all including same-sex couples and singles, but not for women over the age of 42. I have a friend who is 42 years old and pregnant (yes, naturally) and we all know a friend or a friend of a friend who got pregnant at 42 or older so why would the Canadian panel pick that age?

It's simple, really. Egg donation is virtually non-existent in Canada because egg donors cannot be paid and they cannot be anonymous. That makes it very difficult for women to find a donor in their own country. And IVF is funded by the national health care system so the chances of IVF working for a 42 year old woman are not great.

I can hear you now: what about the women in their 40s who are in excellent health? They work out, take great care of themselves and look 10 years younger. It doesn't matter with eggs. Forty-two-year-old eggs are old, especially when you compare them to a 22 year old woman. It doesn't matter how many lunges you do.

What say you?


Mums_the_word said...

IVF isn't actually funded by the 'national health care system'... the federal government allocates funds for each province for health-care. How those funds are spent is determined by the province. Currently, IVF is only funded in Quebec... in Ontario the procedure is covered for women with bilateral tubal blockage, but the procedure is only a small fraction of the cost, and those women still have to pay for medications and lab fees (and embryologists don't come cheap).

As for the age... I agree with it. I've been through 2 (fresh cycle) IVFs (sadly with no child to hold yet), and through my journey, I've met several other women who have had to pursue IVF in their quest for children. The chances of it working decrease with maternal age. The chances of eggs of sufficent quality decreases. The chances of implantation decreases. The chances of pregnancy leading to live birth decreases. So given the choice between seeing the system fund one single-embryo transfer per woman per lifetime, or up to 3 single-embryo transfers per woman under the age of 42 per lifetime... well, yeah, I'd rather see a few women get a few more kicks at the can with a better chance of success (which, oddly enough, also means they're less likely to need all of their covered cycles).

Anonymous said...

I have to clarify the point made in the article. IVF is NOT publicly funded in Canada - definitely not in British Columbia. While a few tests and procedures (hystosalpinogram etc) are covered under the provincial health plan, the large majority of the costs are paid privately by the patient. Canada used to have a thriving donor egg option for infertile couples. Now, couples are forced to travel to the US or further abroad if they need donor eggs. Having gone through ivf several times, and with donor eggs left as the only option, it was really disheartening to know that this treatment was not allowed in Canada. A nurse at the fertility clinic told me that it used to be allowed in Canada. Also, most private health plans do not cover the cost of ivf or drugs. This might be different for federal government employees, but for most people, extended health plans do not cover any of the cost. If you are looking for a clinic in the U.S., make sure the doctors are board certified.

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