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Conceivable Dreams: The Savings Add Up

With the 40th Ontario Provincial General Election just days away, and an incredibly relevant issue – OHIP for IVF - still on the table, I thought it would be a great time to answer one of the questions many of y’all may be asking – just how will the $500 million in savings be realized?

I’ll endeavor to answer it as simply and succinctly as it was explained to me. Really, it’s not rocket science (I promise!). And to do this, perhaps I should lend an example.

Suppose John and Jane Doe (a fictional couple) have been trying unsuccessfully to conceive, and therefore turn to IVF or other assisted reproduction techniques. (Today, one in six Ontario couples struggle with infertility – so they wouldn’t be alone. IVF is often their best and only treatment option.)

However, since IVF costs on average $10,000 per treatment cycle (!!!), the Doe’s would likely choose to implant more than one embryo. Wouldn’t you want to improve your chances of conceiving the first time? Or second? Or third? At $10K per treatment, that would be a yes.

And as a result, John and Jane – and other couples using IVF – would be 10 times more likely to have multiple births than those who do not. And while the notion of twins or triplets can be endearing, the hard truth is that multiples are 17 times more likely to be born pre-term, require a caesarean delivery and/or need expensive care at birth and throughout their lives. So although the Doe’s would pay out of their own pocket for the initial service, the province as a whole ends up paying for their offspring through higher taxes, diverted funds, cancelled social assistance programs and more.

After about 10 years, we’ll be paying close to $500 million dollars.

Publicly funded IVF can change this. Based on a policy of single embryo transfer, in addition to helping more couples realize their dream of starting a family, we’d be able to reduce the number of multiple pregnancies (Québec recently slashed the rates from 27.2% down to just 5.2% in under six months). And less multiples – again, sweet as they are – mean less $$ spent on keeping them healthy.


See? I told you it was easy.

Conceivable Dreams, the OHIP for IVF Coalition, is the provincial voice for thousands of infertility sufferers and their supporters across Ontario. Their goal is to have OHIP coverage of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) reinstated by the Ontario government. Remember – make your local candidates earn your vote; ask them where they stand on public funding of IVF.


Please note Conceivable Dreams receives funding from industry supporters like EMD, which shares their passion for improving patient access to safe and affordable fertility treatments.

2 Responses to “Conceivable Dreams: The Savings Add Up”

  1. Shauna MacKenzie
    October 3, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    I, like you, was blessed with getting pregnant with my boys instantly, no issues at all. But I know so many women who have dealt with the heartache and struggle with infertility. I know a young couple who are $30,000 in debt from using IVF to have their first child, and are considering even more debt to have a second child.When I read your first Conceivable Dreams post, I couldn't wrap my head around how it would cost tax payers less to have IVF covered by OHIP. Thank you for putting this in black & white for your readers. It makes so much sense now. Decreasing the chance of having multiples would not only be less of a strain on our health care system, but less of a strain financially on families.Thank you for putting this out there and spreading awareness!

  2. Lena!
    October 3, 2011 at 8:25 pm #

    @Shauna – thank you SO much for your feedback! To be quite honest, I too was stumped – until it was explained to me. Then I thought, "Of course! It ALL makes sense now!" Happy to see I was able to convey the same message :)

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