Accepted: Between Ages 18-42

by kdesrochers on February 23, 2015 - 8:54pm

According to the website provided by the American Pregnancy Association, 16 438 women become pregnant everyday with more than ¼ of these women experiencing pregnancy loss, while another 5 479 couples begin to realize they are going to endure infertility issues. Quebec was one of the first places in the world to allow fully covered IVF treatments and now with the arrival of Bill 20, these treatments have been limited to certain age groups and the funds have been greatly scaled back.

            In Vitro Fertilization is the fertilization of an egg and sperm within a laboratory, once fertilized and developed, the cell can then be placed inside a women. According to the American Pregnancy Association, in order to qualify for IVF patients must have blocked or damaged fallopian tubes, ovulation disorders, genetic disorders, and unexplained infertility. The process may be long and difficult, however it has now been restricted to women of 18-42 years of age, with the appearance of Bill 20.

            Due to Bill 20, many now view Quebec as “[curtailing] one of the most generous public-funding plans for fertility treatments in the world” (Grant). When the funding for the coverage of IVF was emplaced in 2010, according to Kelly Grant in the Globe and Mail, “Quebec to Cut in Vitro Fertilization Insurance Coverage”, published on November 28, 2014, Quebec “was really seen as one of the leaders in North America in terms of recognizing infertility as a medical condition” and “heralded as a world leader” according to Marina Adshade. Though Bill 20 is not taking the procedure completely away from couples, it is limiting the funding. According to Vendeville, writer of “Quebec Cuts Public Funding for In Vitro Fertilization” in the Montreal Gazette, published on November 28, 2014, to compensate the cut in funding families earning less than $50 000 a year would be given a tax break equal 80 per cent of the procedure’s cost, while those making $120 000 or more a year will get a tax break equal to 20 per cent. As well, couples who already have a child can not be eligible to claim the tax credit (Vendeville). The average cost of IVF is around $10 000, therefore those that make less than $50 000 a year will pay $2 000 overall. The amount of 20% can be much more than families can afford.

            However, the real issue is not the cost of IVF but the restrictions of families from being able to have children. Those that cannot afford the treatment are cut-off, while those that may afford it, but do not fall into the age group, are rejected. When people begin to be categorized as eligible or not do to age, the issue is no longer seen as a debate on economic class but one of civil rights. An editorial piece by Marina Adshade in the Huffington Post published on December 7, 2014, “Quebec Should Not Put Age Limits on In Vitro Fertilization”, illustrates that the implementation of Bill 20 will “ban women from having IVF even when donor eggs are used and even when the women are willing to pay for the procedure themselves”. Not only are these women unable to be given the treatment, if they are to be referred by a health care professional to clinics outside of Quebec that will perform the procedure, the doctors will be fined $50 000. The purpose of the bill may be to benefit the economic situation in Quebec; however, the restriction emplaced on the women of older age can be seen as a disgrace to basic human rights. It is unethical to dictate someone’s right to become a parent due to age. Quebec was seen as a leader in accepting infertility as a medical condition and now it’s discrimination on age is hidden behind economical benefits.

For more information on the articles/editorials mentioned follow the links listed below.

http://americanpregnancy.org/infertility/in-vitro-fertilization/

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/quebec-to-cut-in-vitro-fertilization-insurance-coverage/article21836914/

http://montrealgazette.com/news/quebec/quebec-cuts-ivf-coverage-and-threatens-doctors-with-sanctions

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/marina-adshade/quebec-in-vitro-fertilization_b_6270364.html

Comments

I disagree with your take on this issue but please listen to my arguments why. Of course, IVF is an incredible step forward in combating infertility for couples wishing to have children. I do not think the practice is wrong in any way. What I disagree with is your take on the age restrictions and financials involved.

To begin with the age restrictions, I do believe they are necessary for such a practice. Having older parents can be a huge drawback for children. Older parents get ill and die sooner in a child's life. As a result, they can miss many very important moments in a child's life. The children may end up going through their high school graduation with no parents. Of course this in itself wouldn't really be a reason strong enough to prevent a person from ever having a child. However, this isn't the way I see the matter. All women know that they have a limited number of gametes and that once they go through menopause as they near forty they will no longer be able to have children. This is a fact. Therefore, I believe that once women have passed this point, they should have accepted the fact that they will not be mothers.

As for the financial situations, I believe the government is right to make parents have to pay a portion of the treatment costs for two main reasons. First of all, the government must attribute money to all medical and health areas and I would much rather they send money towards protecting and caring for existing lives and more pressing and urgent medical situations. These procedures are also very costly and the money for a single treatment can be used instead to pay for many more patients who are affecting by life-threatening or serious conditions. My argument here is mainly that there are other priorities. So I think that the portion prospective parents have to pay for is fair.

In addition, your argument that parents might not be able to afford treatments confuses me. For let me ask you this, if parents cannot afford a 2000$ payment to create the baby, how can they possibly afford the costs associated to having the baby? The diapers, the food, the cribs, the toys, the clothes. Babies who then grow into children to need school supplies and computers and even more food? If one cannot afford the 2000$ to create a child from IVF, then I would argue they cannot afford the costs of actually having a child thereafter.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Does this in anyway change your view? To me, it doesn't appear quite as a civil rights issue but more as a way of protecting children.

I understand your point of view on this issue created by Bill 20. It is true that the new age restriction runs counter to the basic human right that is that every human being should be able to have children no matter what their age is. However, I feel like you left out an important aspect: the rights of an embryo. An embryo has the same rights as a fully-grown human and, therefore, has every right to live. By imposing a restriction on the age, fewer women will be able to receive IVF treatments. Thus, the number of embryos that will die in the process will decrease. Also, recalling that once the treatments lead to childbirth, the leftover embryos are either destroyed or given to research with the parents’ consent, it can be concluded that fewer useless embryos will be created with this restriction. Women do have the right to create life, but it should not be done at the expense of the lives of their embryos. I don’t think that IVF treatments should be abolish; I think that Bill 20 is a good way to control the financial situation in which the children will be raised since not all parents will be able to afford the treatments, and the age restriction will also help reduce the number of wasted embryos. I think that women should be required to use all fertilized human eggs to ensure that no life will be unnecessarily created.