People think babies can be expensive, but preemie babies… they are expensive. Hospitalization, specialists, therapists, treatments, follow up appointments…. As I am sure many of you already know Monkey was a preemie, born at 32 weeks gestation we spent over a month in the NICU with him before we could bring him home. I am so thankful that in Canada we do not pay for our healthcare directly, rather it is paid for by our tax dollars. However we all know that our healthcare dollars are a finite resource – there is only so much money to go around to take care of every person in our country. Deciding how to spend healthcare money is a difficult task – do we put more money into cancer treatment? Cardiology? Increase supports for children with autism? Or open more inpatient beds in our hospitals? These are difficult questions, so when someone suggests that we spend our healthcare dollars to fund in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment for infertile couples many people say no way. Why would we ever put money towards IVF when there are so many more pressing areas that need funding? Well like many areas of healthcare the answer is not straight forward, lets look at some facts:
- 1 in 8 Couples in Canada deal with infertility
- In North America 30% of in vitro fertilization pregnancies are multiple births
- The risk of prematurity and delivery by caesarean section is increased with multiple births
- 50% 0f all twins and 95% of triplets will be admitted to the NICU when they are born
- Complications of prematurity are costly and can include chronic respiratory problems, visual impairments, cerebral palsy, learning & behavioral difficulties and intestinal problems
Infertility may not be a life or death situation, however the desire to have a family will not be ignored by couples dealing with infertility. They will save and scrape together enough money to pay for in vitro fertilization treatment themselves, which costs upwards of $10, 000 per cycle, and will take the risk of having more than 1 embryo transferred during IVF. Yes this may lead to a multiple pregnancy, but for that couple they may not get another chance at a family.
But what would happen if in Ontario OHIP covered the cost of IVF with strict guidelines in place, so that only a single embryo was transferred in most cases? Well that is just what they do in several European countries and in the province of Quebec. And what was the result? A drastic drop in multiple births from 30% to 5%. What does that translate into – fewer c-sections, fewer NICU admissions, higher birth weight babies with fewer complications both in the short and long term = Healthcare Savings and healthier families!
The saying goes “Sometimes you need to spend money to make money”, well in this case you need to spend a little money to save a lot of money in the long run. Hubs and I have not dealt with infertility personally, but we do know couples that have and have first hand the high cost of premature babies and NICU stays. Conceivable Dreams is asking the Ontario government to take action and fund medically recommended in vitro fertilization for infertile couples. Lets make the best use of our healthcare dollars we can, and have more families like this:
Join in on the conversation follow @OHIP4IVF on Twitter or the hashtag #OHIP4IVF to support government funding for in vitro fertilization.
Wondering where I got all my facts and figures from? Here are my references:
Disclosure: I have been compensated for this blog post by Conceivable Dreams . However, all opinions expressed on this blog are my own and not influenced in any way.