Ontario's Fertility Program - FAQs
Why is the government expanding the funding for IVF treatments?
The government is contributing to the costs of fertility services to improve affordability and access. By expanding access to IVF, the government will assist an estimated 4,000 more people in the province.
I’m considering IVF. When should I start this treatment?
The Ministry advises patients to discuss their treatment options with their physician, as well as the potential risks of delaying any treatment, should they have already started this process. Although the new program will begin rolling out in Ontario clinics in December 2015, not every clinic will be providing funded services right away, and some clinics may have waiting lists for new patients. The determination of whether or not a patient should delay the start of their treatment will depend on their individual circumstances based on discussions with their physician.
Is there going to be waiting lists? What does that mean for people who don’t want to wait?
Each clinic will develop and implement criteria for prioritizing patients based on their clinical expertise. If a wait list for the program arises, patients could choose to wait, seek services at another clinic, or pay privately for the service. As is currently the case, fertility clinics will continue to manage their own waiting lists using their clinical judgement.
Will waiting lists be monitored by the government?
The ministry is committed to ensuring that all wait lists will be informed first and foremost by clinical guidelines that respect the ethical standards of the College of Physicians of Ontario Clinics will also be reporting their wait lists and their wait lists polices to the ministry so we can keep track of the demand for this service.
Will individuals be able to apply to the program retroactively? For example, if they just started IVF and are paying out of pocket today, will they be able to apply for funding retroactively once the program is implemented to offset their out of pocket costs?
Once the program is launched, eligible patients will be able to enroll in the program and begin receiving funded services. Eligibility and payment will not be retroactive and patients will not be able to receive reimbursement for any previously-incurred expenses for fertility services already received.
Why is funding being delivered outside of OHIP?
In order to assist with family building both for patients with medical infertility and with non-medical forms of infertility, such as single people or same sex couples, a comprehensive new program for fertility services that expands access to more patients has been established.
Do individuals need a referral from a doctor in order to be eligible for government funded IVF treatments?
Eligibility for the program will not be dependent on a physician referral; however, patients are encouraged to discuss their specific medical or other circumstances with their health care provider to determine the most appropriate family building options for them.
Why is the ministry only funding one IVF cycle per patient? Why are you not funding multiple cycles?
The government has committed to help contribute to the cost of IVF and IUI treatments for people in Ontario, thereby helping people to build their families. Funding for the expanded fertility services program has been considered in the context of Ontario’s current fiscal reality, Quebec’s experience with its publicly-funded IVF program, and international trends and best practices. Ontario’s definition of “IVF cycle” includes the one-at-a-time transfer of all viable fresh and frozen embryos to allow for the possibility of multiple chances for pregnancy.
In the past, a woman with blocked fallopian tubes was publicly funded for 3 cycles of IVF. Under this new program, she only qualifies for one funded cycle. Why is this?
One funded cycle of IVF will allow for egg retrieval (multiple eggs may be retrieved), and the one-at-atime transfer of all viable fresh and frozen embryos to allow for the possibility of multiple chances for pregnancy. Previously, the definition of a “cycle” included an egg retrieval service and an embryo transfer service. This definition of “cycle” being used under the new program allows for the possibility of multiple chances for pregnancy while supporting the public policy goal of encouraging single embryo transfers.
Are LGBTQ individuals eligible for the program? If so, how?
Yes. Eligibility for the program is not restricted by sex, gender, sexual orientation, family status, or whether or not a person chooses to use the services of a surrogate.
If a woman wants to freeze her eggs now until sometime in the future when she is prepared to have a baby, will that be covered?
Funding for IVF is being offered in order to support people who are currently trying to build their family, and access is not restricted to individuals with medical infertility. However, access to IVF-related services for fertility preservation, such as egg and sperm preservation, will be offered to people for medical reasons only, such as people who will undergo cancer treatment and who may be at risk of infertility in connection with that treatment.
Funded fertility preservation services will not be offered to people for other reasons, such as socioeconomic circumstances or other non-medical factors such as being single. There are limited resources for administering this program. The intention of the program is to provide funded IVF to people in Ontario who are trying to build their families right now, rather than to provide funded services to people as a precaution against possible infertility down the road.
Why is the province not covering the cost of drugs?
As previously announced, families or their health plans will continue to pay the cost of the associated drug treatments for fertility services. This policy is in line with other publicly funded health care services.
How much funding will Ontario be allocating each year for the Fertility Program?
The annual cost of the program will be up to $70 million.