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Ireland to offer state-funded IVF

09 October 2017

By Georgia Everett

Appeared in BioNews 921

For the first time couples in Ireland will be eligible for financial aid for fertility treatments, after the Government signed off new proposals last week.

Health Minister Simon Harris presented a draft of the Assisted Human Reproduction (AHR) Bill to Cabinet, which included an examination of how other countries, particularly the United Kingdom, have funded IVF treatments in order to see which scheme would work best in Ireland.

Mr Harris explained that the 'new legislation is the first time that a comprehensive package of measures has been drafted for the area of AHR as a whole. It has been long called for and is a very important milestone'.

The legislation will allow couples access to funding regardless of household income. Fertility treatment can be financially restrictive for couples who require treatment, as each IVF cycle costs approximately €4500-6000. The plans will allow the Government to decide how many funded cycles each couple is permitted to receive. Although all will have access to funding, it is understood that the number of funded cycles is likely to be means-tested.

The law will also permit gametes and embryos to be used for posthumous fertility treatment by the patient's surviving partner, if the applicable consents are in place. 

The proposed Assisted Reproduction Regulatory Authority, an independent body, will be set up to oversee the clinics and regulate the conditions surrounding gamete and embryo donations. Regulations are expected to include prohibition of commercial surrogacy and payment for gamete donations, and monitoring research involving embryos and stem cells.

The authority will have responsibility to ensure 'the welfare and best interests of children born through AHR' are maintained as part of the ethical framework of the legislation.

The Bill will have to undergo pre-legislative examination by the Oireachtas Committee, subject to Government approval, for the financial aid to be in place for 2019. However, there are many questions regarding the Bill that must be addressed before it can become law, including the level of subsidy and whether preimplantation genetic diagnosis will be covered for those who require it.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
The Irish Independent | 04 October 2017
 
The Times | 04 October 2017
 
Irish Examiner | 04 October 2017
 
The Irish Times | 03 October 2017
 

RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE

30 October 2017 - by Shaoni Bhattacharya 
Access to IVF in England has worsened considerably over the last five years, according to data obtained by Fertility Fairness...
23 October 2017 - by Dr Michelle Rodgers 
Equity and access are among the most urgent issues for medically assisted reproduction. According to Ireland's Health Research Board, across Europe six countries offer full public funding, and 19 countries offer partial public funding...

02 October 2017 - by Julianna Photopoulos 
A complaint about radio and internet advertisements for a major IVF clinic in Ireland has been upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland...
11 September 2017 - by Dr Mary Yarwood 
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group has removed funding for free IVF treatment, despite being the county where the procedure was first developed 40 years ago...
11 September 2017 - by Professor Alan Trounson and Dr Karin Hammarberg 
In Australia, almost four percent of children are born as a result of assisted reproductive technologies. The comparatively high rate of ART use is in part due to costs being covered by the taxpayer-funded health insurance scheme, Medicare...
14 August 2017 - by Dr Kimberley Bryon-Dodd 
Funding cuts by the UK's National Health Service has meant that 13 areas in England have restricted or halted IVF treatment since the start of 2017, according to Fertility Network UK...

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