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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Conceivable Dreams: Advocating for Infertility in Ontario #ohip4ivf #onpoli

Many little girls grow up with the fantasy of one day meeting their prince charming and riding off into the sunset together.  Each and every one of us deserves to live the fairytale and have a beautiful little life - living it to its fullest, whatever that may be.   

Twenty years ago, I found myself as a new bride, and newly diagnosed with a disease which would plague me for years into the future.  It was not the ideal way to begin a marriage, yet, we held strong to our hopes and dreams for the future.  A short few months later, I heard words which rocked me to my core - likely,  you'll  have  difficulties  conceiving  unassisted.   

I Just Wanted a Family

I believe that people who want a family should have support. If they need in vitro fertilization to conceive, then that should be funded as a health care service.

For me, it was a dream which I had for years, probably since I was a little girl.  I loved children, and babies and felt an ache inside to one day hold my own newborn in my arms.  It was one of the most devastating things ever to hear those simple little words.  I wanted a family, and was on a mission to find my options. 

The reality is that I was not alone in my struggles to conceive - one in six Ontario couples are having difficulty conceiving.  

I knew there were options - what I didn't realize was that the options are not accessible to all.   The province does not publicly fund in vitro fertilization in Ontario.   Many couples are spending upwards of $13 000 out of pocket for one round of IVF.   That price tag means many who need IVF cannot afford the procedure.  A group called Conceivable Dreams has been advocating for public funding for IVF for several years now.  As of this morning, it looks like in vitro fertilization will be funded in Ontario - a budget document was leaked to the Toronto Star and published today.  The official provincial budget will not be tabled until May 1.  I hope this announcement is contained in the budget because public funding for IVF will help so many couples struggling with infertility in the province of Ontario.  It also helps create healthy families.

A Beautiful Little Life

Much to our shock and surprise, we were able to naturally conceive.  Our doctors were surprised as well.    I gave birth to a healthy little girl in March of 1998.  I felt so lucky and yet, I had that feeling i that our family was not complete.  For four years, we tried to conceive again.  I counted my cycle and spent hundreds of dollars on home pregnancy tests in those months of trying to conceive.  Finally, I found myself sitting in a doctor's office seeking help to grow my family. There are many reasons why a couple can't conceive, sometimes it's our health issues, as it was for me. 

Infertility has long lasting repercussions on our society.   It is evident that the rate of multiple births has been doubling every decade within our country.  If we do not fund IVF in Ontario the number of multiple births will continue to grow, the result will be a long-term strain on our OHIP system. 

Ontario Supports Families

I find it so unfair to those who live daily with the heartbreak/heartache of not having the family, which they want so badly.

It isn't fair to have to live with infertility.

And, it isn't fair to have to give up on your dreams, because of money.

My dream of having a family came true.  I don't understand why I was able to conceive after years of infertility.  Just, as a I don't understand why couples are being denied the ability to do everything possible to love a child.  I don't understand why people should be forced to work multiple jobs, or add to their mortgage, in order to pay for a round of IVF.

Ontario will be making an important statement that this is a province that supports families, and values health care, if this budget leak announcement comes true next month. Quebec has already seen that the rate of multiples has dropped from 30% down to single digits at around 5%, which means saving money for health care.

The future is in our hands!

Find out more:  Continue to follow Conceivable Dreams on Twitter and Facebook  as we advocate and bring greater awareness to the issue of infertility and the need for public funding.

Disclaimer:  This post is in conjunction with Conceivable Dreams.  All opinions expressed are mine, and this post is based upon my struggles with infertility.  Photo source:  Shutter Stock. 


Jennifer Van Huss said...

Wow! I can't believe those stats!! How devastating!! I was lucky and conceived naturally too. My heart goes out to them!

Randa Derkson said...

I am surprised with those stats as well. Why not fund it!? We (in BC) fund crackheads using in safe places and heroin addicts getting "safe drugs".

Why can't we support a positive moment like starting a family?

Mom vs. the boys said...

it's hard to believe after we had three in three years but we had trouble conceiving too, I know we would not have been able to afford the options out there. something needs to be done

Just Us Girls said...

Hard to believe those stats. I'm hoping that one day IVF will be funded. There are so many deserving women out here in Canada who deserve to be a mother and not go broke trying. Following Conceivable Dreams on Twitter and Facebook, I'd love to learn more and see how I can do my part in helping out and spreading the word.

Paula Schuck said...

I really am glad you added your voice to this cause. That's the thing infertility is so fickle. It hits for strange reasons and it impacts people quietly and you don't really know until suddenly you can't conceive. Then it sort of relies on people being afraid to talk about it. Which we are all doing now. When people raise their voices together and aren't afraid to tell their stories we generate real social and political change. Thanks for this great post!

Christine McN said...

The numbers are staggering, aren't they? I also shared my story today. It was the hardest post I have ever written. Cried as I wrote it.