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Ottawa a Bridge Too Far for Fertility Treatments

Ottowa Citizen,  Aug 15, 2010
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As Quebec's plan to offer free fertility treatment gets off to a chaotic start in Montreal, patients in the Outaouais don't even know if they'll be able to take advantage of the service.

The Quebec government announced more than a year ago that it would begin paying the cost of in-vitro fertilization treatments for residents using fertility clinics in the province. The news sent women rushing to get on waiting lists at Montreal's four fertility clinics in time for the program's launch on Thursday. The waiting list for treatment in the city is reported to be 3,000 names long.

Because there are no fertility clinics in the Outaouais, residents there either drive to clinics in Montreal or Quebec City, or cross the Ottawa River for treatment at the Ottawa Fertility Clinic, where 10 to 15 per cent of the patients are from Quebec.

The Quebec government decided to fund a maximum of three IVF treatments per patient, restricting each treatment to the transfer of one embryo. The goal is to reduce the number of multiple births associated with IVF. Doctors commonly implant two to five embryos at a time to boost the patient's chances of a successful pregnancy. But multiple births carry greater risk to the mother and to the children, and are significantly more expensive to the health care system than single births.

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