Public funding for IVF will become available again for couples in Québec, Canada, struggling to conceive, following its cancellation in 2015.
The recently tabled legislation, known as Bill 73, states that women between the ages of 18 and 40, regardless of whether they already have children, will be eligible for one round of publicly funded IVF. Seven thousand cycles are anticipated to take place during the programme's first year and will be capped at 3500 cycles from the third year onwards.
'This is very good news for everybody in Québec who wants to start a family' said junior health minister Lionel Carmant. His political party, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ), promised to fund IVF during the previous election campaign, with Carmant adding 'For these families who have been waiting for a number of years we did not want to delay this anymore'.
In 2010, the government of Québec began covering the costs for up to three IVF cycles. However, the programme was halted in 2015 due to maintenance costs, with then-Health Minister Gaétan Barrette referring to the scheme as an 'open bar'. The current cost is around 8000 Canadian dollars per couple.
Whilst women over the age of 40 will not be eligible for compensation through the new scheme, they will still be able to apply for current tax credit for IVF, as instituted by Barrette. For same-sex couples of two women, only one cycle will be available for each couple.
Additionally, when the bill is passed, the number of artificial inseminations available per woman will drop from nine to six.
'A lot of people know that after six [cycles of artificial insemination], sometimes even after three, there's little benefit of adding more' commented Carmant.
The CAQ has stated that they intend to pass Bill 73 by mid-December when the current legislative session ends.