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Mike and Sylvia Braithwaite were told to give up trying to get pregnant when Sylvia was 46 years old. (Ryan Enn Hughes)
Mike and Sylvia Braithwaite were told to give up trying to get pregnant when Sylvia was 46 years old. (Ryan Enn Hughes)

Q&A

Your in-vitro fertilization questions answered Add to ...

Globe and Mail: Answer from Dr. Marjorie Dixon, fertility specialist and member of the expert panel on infertility and adoption:

This is an excellent question for which I have no logical answer. A blocked vas deferens is not exactly the same as blocked fallopian tubes, but in principle, it is similar. Often, the blockage occurs as a result of infection with STI's such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. Alternately, the blockage or absence is due to prior surgeries, trauma or simply a congenital issue (noted from birth). Nevertheless, it is currently not covered by OHIP. In our research for the recommendations of the panel regarding male infertility, it became clear that there is room for improvement in all aspects of this coverage. It should also be noted that though IVF was previously delisted (in 1994) for a host of female infertility indications, it was never their practice to cover male fertility. Whether this sets the stage for the Human Rights Commission is not for me to answer.

Comment From Michel: Hello, this is probably off-topic a bit...I am a quadriplegic, and my wife and I had a child who is now a terrific 12 year old girl. We have not yet told her that she was conceived with donor sperm, partly because we felt she should be mature enough to work out some of these implications with us, and partly out of fear of her reaction to this important issue in her life...any thoughts?

Comment From Chris: To Michel re: donor sperm... The information about her conception belongs to her, you and your wife are merely the guardians of it until she knows. We told our son when he was 3 so he will always know. Our friends told their boys at age 13, with sensitivity and openness. They are fine. Most important is that you DO tell her, and that you remain open to communicating about it on her terms.

Globe and Mail: A question from a reader: Dr. Leader, could you explain a bit more about the panel's stance on legalizing the sale of donor eggs in Canada?

Globe and Mail: Dr. Art Leader: The panel is not asking that the sale of eggs be legalized. It is recommending that compensation be broadened from just receipt able expenses to such reasonable costs as time lost from work, travel time and child care expenses.

Globe and Mail: One of our commenters noted: "If the province is going to pay for in vitro, then I think that it should also pay for birth control. Fair is fair." Dr. Leader, what's your take on that?

Globe and Mail: Dr. Art Leader: The panel recommended that procedures, not drugs be paid for by OHIP. For anyone who cannot afford medications, there is a drug benefit program in operation and we recommended its expansion or a tax credit to cover IVF-related drugs.

Comment From Lynn: In response to Michel's comment: When we went through the process of possibly needing donor sperm the counselor suggested to us that it would be best for them to grow up knowing, it would be normal to them that way, instead of a big shock when they are older

Comment From sandi: how long before we find out if they will pass the ivf bill and when will we know if it will be covered or not?

Globe and Mail: From Jennifer MacMillan: Hi Sandi, thanks for your question. Both Premier Dalton McGuinty and Minister of Child and Youth Services Deb Matthews have confirmed the report is currently under review by the Ontario government. The recommendations are just that at this point, and no timeline has yet been attached for approving/implementing them.

Comment From Tess B.: Isn't this recommendation only for the province of Ontario? In Calgary, where my husband an I went to have our IVF/ICSI done, the fertility clinic has created a not for profit organization aimed to help less fortunate couples to have their own. As far as I know, application are screened and there are criteria before they get accepted. And as far as whether my twin sons' awareness how they come to life, we will deal with it later when they are big enough to understand. Right now, their focus is the joy being in a kindergarten class.

Globe and Mail: From Jennifer MacMillan: Yes, you're right Tess. This report applies only to the province of Ontario. Quebec is the only other province that has taken big steps forward in funding IVF. Their National Assembly passed Bill 26, which provides funding for up to three rounds of IVF, in late June.

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