SHOULD MEDICARE PAY FOR IN-VITRO FERTILIZATION?

A confontation is brewing in the Quebec National Assembly between the government and the two opposition parties.

The issue is whether tax payers’ money should be used to cover in-vitro fertilization procedures, which can cost $10,000 and have an average success rate of about 20 per cent.

If both opposition parties hang together, they could defeat the government. Parti Quebecois health critic, Bernard Drainville read a letter from a woman who mortgaged her home and maxed out a line of credit, going $50,000 in debt to pay for in-vitro fertilization.

Drainville says medicare pays for tying fallopian tubes and performing vasectomies to prevent pregnancies, and pays for abortions, so it should also pay for in-vitro fertilization. Also several European countries do so.

A spokesperson for the health minister, Philippe Couillard, argues that in-vitro is expensive and has a low success rate. She added that in-vitro is risky for the mother and there is a higher risk the baby will be born prematurely multiplying the chances of birth defects.

Couillard himself argues it would $20 million to $30 million a year to cover in vitro and that money would be taken away from other treatment.

An editorial in the Gazette this morning echoes the minister: “This is too large a burden for the taxpayer to bear. Our medical system is already staggering under the load of life-and-death interventions that we cannot pay for.”

If we do not have the money to pay for cancer treatment in a timely fashion, should we have the money for in vitro?

On the other hand, Julie Snyder, the TV presenter whose partner is Pierre Peladeau, wants all Quebec women to have access to in vitro. “The result would be “more little Quebecers, more little taxpayers.” (Snyder herself is five months pregnant as a result of in vitro.)

What do you think?

Should Quebec use taxpayers’ money to pay for in-vitro fertilization at $10,000 a pop?

13 Comments »

  1. 1
    SUZANNE Says:

    No. For pro-life reasons (IVF kills a number of embryos) and for the low success rate. Listen, if any other medical intervention cost that much and had such a low success rate, it wouldn’t be paid for.

    I do not believe that it will result in significantly “more Quebeckers”. Why not just encourage fertile women to have more kids.

    A Quebecker who wants the population to grow should commit him or herself to have at least 3 kids.

    $10 000 a pop? It costs more than that I’m sure.

  2. 2

    Suzanne:

    I think you are right about the cost. I think it is $10,000 a pop but usually it requires three separate tries before the women becomes pregnant. That works out to $30,000.

    Many thanks for your comment.

  3. 3
    Cornelius T. Zen Says:

    Good morrow, all!
    The best government is the least government. Two things things the best government can do for its people:
    1. Mind its own business (listening, Hillary?)
    2. Keep its hands to itself (got that, Bill?)
    It is not the responsibility of the government to help women get pregnant. (unless, of course, you’re a cabinet minister with a fertile girlfriend, and one drunken, careless night, you…but I digress) It is also not the responsibility of other taxpayers to pay for helping women get pregnant. But, then, I repeat myself.
    The original purpose of medicare was to allow people who could not ordinarily afford such, to have access to medical care as needed. Just how critical to anyone’s health is the desire to become pregnant? If the government truly wants more “little taxpayers”, maybe it should stop taxing the “big” taxpayers to death. The Irish government went that route, and now, they are one of the richest countries in Europe. Unless and until people can afford to bear and raise more children, the government has no business considering making in-vitro pregnancies part of medicare coverage. Does that make sense? CTZen

  4. 4

    CTZen:

    Well, yes indeed, it makes a lot of sense. However, disturbing precedents have already been set. The government (with our money) already pays for other forms of assisted reproduction, such as artificial insemination.

    Thanks for your comment.

  5. 5
    Chimera Says:

    “If we do not have the money to pay for cancer treatment in a timely fashion, should we have the money for in vitro?”

    Precisely.

    Recently, the whole idea of national socialized medical care (and the argument is still open as to whether or not pregnancy is a medical condition) has been showing fatal flaws. When people in need are being turned away and denied care that will save their lives, I’m thoroughly against the accomodation of serving people in want of propogating even more lives.

    Past time to allow private medical insurance and private medical care.

    But as for that woman who went so far into debt for a lottery ticket in the pregnancy sweepstakes: has she been examined by a psychiatrist? Has she been diagnosed with OCD? Does she have other addictions? This smacks of a personality disorder that ought to send red flags into the troposphere, as far as giving charge over the lives of other people are concerned.

    “Why not just encourage fertile women to have more kids.”

    If fertile women wanted more kids, they’d have them without government or social interference.

  6. 6
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    The ADQ and the PQ are just out to embarrass the government and don’t give a hoot about the women in question. Just political posturing about a subject they think will get them some women votes. The PQ was the first, when in power and Mme Marois being Health Minister, to cut insured services. The ADQ is against public health insurance altoghether. Let’s be serious.

  7. 7
    Want to be a mother Says:

    I am a 25 year old woman. A couple of months ago, my husband and I found out that his sperm are unable to fertilize an egg naturally(0% morphology) They are healthy other than that, however need assistance in penetrating an egg. We are strong believers in the Christian faith, therefor are facing a tough decision as far as in vitro goes. How can I, believing that life begins at conception, allow several fertilized eggs to be discarded?(they fertilize many, but only implant 2) The Dr. offered us a 3 cycle package which normally, being in the age group of the higest success rate, we would not need. The Dr is confident that if we buy a 1 cycle package, it will be successful the first try. However, due to our faith, we are going to limit the number of eggs we allow them to fertilize to 6 maximum, which decreases our chances drastically. This is why the Dr suggested a 3 cycle package,which would allow us to fertilize only 3 eggs each try, in which case all 3, (if they even make it) will be implanted into my womb.The 1 cycle pacakge for in vitro is priced at 7000$ not including medication costs which can clime to another 3000$ for a grand total of 10 000$.The 3 cycle package is 13 000$ with another 2-3 000$ each try to cover medication costs. My husband and I cannot afford to go 20 000$ into debt. We have mtg payments, and do not make a lot of money. On the other hand, we have a lot of Love in our home, and so badly and desperately want to have children together. We have decided to take a 1 cycle package, and attempt to fertilize 6 maximum. Our of those six, we may only end up with 1, 2, 3, 4 , or 5 successful embryos. They will implant 2, and the others will be frozen for later use. We are under a lot of stress, because of the money, and the possibility of having too many, or no kids at all. Had this procedure been covered by medicare, we would have taken the 3 cycle, and only fertilized 3 eggs at a time, which would have put our hearts at ease, as well as kept our chances high. It would be very nice to have this covered by medicare.

  8. 8
    genevieve Says:

    Absolutly NO, why don’t these people adopt? There’s so many kids that needs a home!!!!! It’s a personal choice to have a baby, why should my taxes pay for that!!! What about people who have cancer or other illness that they never choose to have, maybe we should put that money to help save lives or give a better life style to those who have a hard time to pay for there medication. It’s selfish to think that taxe payer should support in vitro, nothing against it, but it’s not like it’s a matter of life or death!!!!

    • 9
      Jennifer Says:

      It is very ignorant of you to speak so rudely of a very serioius medical problem that affects milliions of couples who do not have a choice in wanting to have a child of their own. Maybe you were blessed with the opportunity to conceive and it is easy for you to say “WHY DONT THESE PEOPLE ADOPT”. I am happy that you are not going through the emotional and financial burden that I am in trying to have a beautiful child in my life. I hope YOU never have to experience what many of us are going through.

  9. 10
    RacanM Says:

    Couples experiencing infertility often receive well meaning but insensitive “advice”. I think what many nay sayers don’t realize is that infertility IS a medical condition. It’s a shame that many don’t see infertility for what it is: a disease for which one has the right to seek treatment (like cancer). I think God meant when he handed many couples with infertilty was for us to find other ways to have children such as via invitro. While I myself would have never chosen infertilty, I would never deny a loving couple wanting a child so badly they are willing to remortgage their house or put themselves in fnancial debt. And by the way, the embryos that don’t make it are usually the ones that degenerate byselves.

    I guess I myself am very lucky to have had the means to pay for 3 trials and because of that, today I have a beautiful son.

  10. 11
    Sandra Says:

    @Genevieve: I find the way you (and other people that posted) think terrible. You want to help sick people…well people with fertility problems are sick as well. Yes, maybe we are not about to die, but have you ever thought about what this means for a person? not being able to conceive?? I don’t think so. How can you say “just adopt”. I am sure if you would have these problems you would be a totally different person. Complaining and not wanting the taxe money to cover invitro, but paying a small salary to HEALTHY people that could work but DON’T, just because they choose to do so, is fine!Or where do you think the governement takes that money from????

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