Gaétan Barrette backtracks on maximum age for IVF

Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette is backing away from one of the more controversial elements of a major health care reform bill.

Health minister will let College of Physicians set criteria for in vitro fertilization

Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette responds to reporters questions after a caucus meeting, Tuesday, May 5, 2015 at the legislature in Quebec City. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette is backing away from one of the more controversial elements of a major health care reform bill.

Bill 20 no longer includes an age limit for in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment. Originally, there was a provision that prevented women over the age of 42 from receiving the treatments.

Instead, Barrette said it will be up to the province's College of Physicians to set the criteria for IVF.

"We're telling the college: You set the criteria because you've shown us, all the experts have shown us, that it was even possible to have more [pregnancy] risks before the age of 42 than after 42," said Barrette. 

However, Barrette specified that women over 42 would not be eligible for a provincial tax credit to offset some of the costs of IVF. 

"The science has evolved to a point... where age is not an absolute criteria. But when it comes to the budget, the [age] limit will remain at 42," he said.

The health minister announced a series of amendments to the law this morning, after eliminating minimum patient quotas for family doctors yesterday.

In return, the federation representing general practitioners has pledged to increase access to family doctors by the end of 2017.


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