The Current

Quebec IVF treatment program bans anyone over 42 from eligibility

Songstress Celine Dion gave birth to twins with the the help of in vitro fertilization. The singer was one of the public faces of the campaign that led to Quebec's generous, provincially-funded IVF program a few years ago. But now the province is trying to adapt its laws regarding IVF and critics are calling it ageist....
Songstress Celine Dion gave birth to twins with the the help of in vitro fertilization. The singer was one of the public faces of the campaign that led to Quebec's generous, provincially-funded IVF program a few years ago. But now the province is trying to adapt its laws regarding IVF and critics are calling it ageist.

You have people who cannot have children naturally. But with medical techniques they can have it. In Quebec we want to have more children. And I think it's something that we can offer to the parents in the province of Quebec.Yves Bolduc, Quebec's former Minister of Health & Social Services

The offer Yves Bolduc made to Quebec parents back in 2010 was a generous one indeed. In vitro fertilization, the costly route to parenthood that's often a would-be parents last hope, would be covered by the provincial health care plan: up to three rounds of IVF, for any woman with a provincial health care card.

The program made the province a world leader in providing IVF. But it may have been too generous an offer after all.

Last Friday, current health minister Gaétan Barrette tabled Bill 20, which would significantly limit how -- and when -- women can access IVF. Women older than 42 will no longer be eligible for IVF at all, even if they pay for it themselves. And there would be hefty fines for fertility specialists who treat older women, or refer them to another province.

If I want to take the risk, and they don't want to pay, I can understand that. If I want to pay, then what is the matter. I need to go to the end. I want that baby. 44-year-old Barbara Ann Carroll on CBC's As It Happens earlier this week

Dr. Neal Mahutte is the President of the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society, and the Medical Director at the Montreal Fertility Centre.

If it does become law, Quebec's Bill 20 stands to introduce some sweeping changes to how In Vitro Fertilization is accessed in that province.

For more on the government's thinking behind the legislation, we were joined by Quebec's Minister of Health and Services, Gaétan Barrette.


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This segment was produced by The Current's Sarah Grant and Ines Colabrese.

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