University of Toronto Magazine University of Toronto Magazine

Who Should Pay for IVF?

Quebec covers three cycles, but most provinces don’t cover infertility treatment

Most patients in Canada currently pay directly for their IVF treatments, usually at about $10,000 per cycle. But earlier this year, Quebec announced it would begin funding up to three IVF cycles per patient.

This is controversial: opponents argue that infertile people aren’t sick and shouldn’t be funded by the public health-care system; proponents counter that if IVF were covered, patients would be more likely to opt for a single embryo transfer instead of two or three. They say this would save the public system money, as hospital care for one pair of premature twins can easily cost 10 times that of an IVF treatment.

Dr. Ted Brown, academic head of the division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at U of T, says, “[Multiple pregnancies] are often high-risk pregnancies, and reducing the number of these would reduce the risk to women, and the associated health-care expenditures. We need to make single embryo transfer an attractive option.”

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