Can some please explain to me why In-Vitro Fertilization is not a major issue in this 2011 Ontario Provincial Election?
As we near the election day – the 40th general election in Ontario on October 6th, 2011 - I find many people still unaware of all the major issues, one of them being Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudek. I really feel that the PC’s missing a great opportunity to put pressure on the Ontario Liberal Party for an election promise they made in 2007 that they have since reneged on. Sure, Dalton McGuinty and the Liberals are great at making promises, then not doing what they say – see taxes… Lots of new taxes, but this issue is a can’t miss win for the PC’s and I’ll explain why if you continue reading.
Let me first be clear about my intentions here. I was approached by an organization called Conceivable Dreams, http://www.conceivabledreams.org/ asking if I would be interested in writing a couple of posts about IVF with the hopes of raising awareness and getting this on the election radar of voters and of the political parties. Sure, the ultimate goal of getting IVF funded by the province is also in mind, but getting this out there to the electorate was the number one priority, so here it is.
So what makes me qualified to have this discussion with you? I have been involved in politics for as long as I can remember and as a father to 3 beautiful children who experienced stress, delays and questions surrounding childbirth, I know some things about IVF so I jumped at this opportunity to learn something new and to ask some questions that I am pretty sure have been asked by everyone else already. I learned that it makes sense for the Province of Ontario to fund this procedure much in the same way that the Province already funds vasectomy’s and abortions.
Ontario’s new slogan: Want to not get pregnant? Come to Ontario. Want to get pregnant? Go to Quebec.
So in order to prepare for this post I did a LOT of research – I read a lot of opinions – saw a lot of comments and came to this conclusion; There are 2 very distinct views on this topic. The first view, is that the Province has no right funding this procedure. It’s not Ontario’s fault that couple cannot conceive children, it’s G-d’s decision, so these people need to go adopt some of the millions of orphaned children in the world. There are lots of kids available who need a good home. Then there is the other side, the side that says parents who want children of their own, and I mean REALLY want children of their own that they are willing to find the $10,000.00 per procedure in effort to get pregnant are more than likely the kind of parents the Province of Ontario wants to have.
So why has funding this procedure not yet come to fruition? Probably because all we ever hear about is the $10,000.00 per procedure cost and that is a lot of money to be spent on a procedure, except when you look at the other side of the coin. At $10,000.00 it is more common – from what I have read – for doctors to implant more than one fertilized egg, meaning there are greater chances that there will be multiple births (twins, triplets, etc.) With multiple births, there is a greater chance for the children to be born earlier, for there to be complications to the children and with the expectant mother which in turn means a great reliance on the health care system. Those costs FAR exceed the costs of the procedure. In addition if the procedure were funded then doctors would not have to implant more than one embryo and with the reduction in multiple births, comes a reduction in costs to OHIP (the Ontario Health Insurance Plan).
So now you might understand why Quebec has funded this procedure in 2010. In Quebec they earmarked $30 million dollars for the first year of this program and expected savings of $30 million dollars in that year. Those are crazy numbers.
So what do the detractors say?
From what I’ve read the comments are pretty down-right mean and nasty. Very cold comments mocking parents who cannot have children, making references to G-d wanting it that way, and it’s their fault that they waited too long to have kids, or that they chose an infertile partner. Some pretty unnecessary stuff indeed. I can guarantee you the majority of these couples who look to IVF are not looking for an easy way out because they have tried the “natural” way and have been unsuccessful, so they want to pay $10,000.00 a shot in hopes of having a child this way. I can also come to the conclusion that IVF is not the only treatment that these couples have tried or will try in effort to get pregnant, so don’t worry IVF-haters. You won’t be asked to fund that too.
But all in all, I do not understand the fuss. When an individual files for bankruptcy and their creditors are not paid all the money they are owing, who gets hit in the end? All of us, through rising costs, and increased insurance rates. Should I get mad because others cannot budget properly? Or what about all those people who are not working but who have a plethora of social programs at their need. Who funds those? I do, through property taxes and other levies and user fees. Should I post negative comments about people who are unable to work and how its not right for me to be paying their way? Absolutely not! I may comment about the city wasting money but never as it relates to those less fortunate that me. I would never tell anyone how to live their life, how many children to have, who they can or cannot marry and what techniques they can and cannot use to get pregnant.
Step back folks, and take the emotion out of this process. It’s not about you. It’s about the province funding a process and saving your tax dollars and my tax dollars while helping couples become parents.
So please Tim Hudek, take this issue to debate and call Dalton McGuinty on this. In 2007 he campaigned on this issue and now almost 5 years later they are still “investigating” this matter, in the words of Deb Matthews the Ontario Minister of Health. Tim, take a stand, and this election is yours! But please take it one step further and fund this procedure. The haters will always be haters. The parents struggling to conceive will have one less thing to worry about.