Quebec was once regarded as one of North America’s leaders in regards to recognizing infertility as a medical condition that affects thousands of men and women, a notion underscored a healthcare bill passed in 2010 that offered free access to ivf treatments via a generous, publicly-funded ivf insurance measure.
Now, the province’s reputation has been marred by a controversial move to cut ivf insurance in women over the age of 42, only four years after the passing of a bill which granted free and virtually unlimited access to various types of ivf treatments to Quebeckers.
The bill, recently proposed by Quebec’s Health Minister Gaetan Barrette, would only provide ivf insurance coverage in men and women who have are no longer fertile due to medical procedures, such as chemotherapy, who are unable to conceive. While the exact reasons behind the bill have not made been made entirely clear, many feel that province is aiming to reduce healthcare costs.
The proposed bill bans older women from ivf treatments even if they are using their own eggs, which frozen when they were younger, or if using a younger donor’s eggs.
While women over the age 42 are a higher risk for pregnancy complications, including pre-ecplampsia, a form of high blood pressure during pregnancy, older women still experience high ivf success rates due to advances in technology and prenatal healthcare.
The bill has drawn harsh criticism not only from the public, but from the very association that represents Canada’s fertility physicians and specialists, who viewed the proposed changes as a step backward.