Friday, March 31, 2006


Speak up about reproductive technologies

My friend, fellow blogger and survivor of the IVF trenches Northern Mom posted this form letter from the Infertility Awareness Association of Canada earlier this week, and I think it's an excellent initiative. I'm embarrassed to say that my activism in the area of reproductive technologies has diminished considerably lately, but it's still a cause I am passionate about.

We have a new federal government now, and your Member of Parliament needs to hear that you care about these issues. Here's the information from IAAC:


Our elected officials prefer to hear from us personally – not in a form letter we might all agree to sign. To help you carry the message to Ottawa, select one or more of the recommended key messages listed below. Please feel free to put them in your own words – or share your own experiences.

To find your Member of Parliament using your postal code on line, go to: http://canada.gc.ca/directories/direct_e.html

1. Children are Canada’s most valuable future resource. Previous governments have claimed to be concerned about our country’s declining birth rate. Yet they have refused to provide crucial assistance for many Canadians who are committed to becoming parents.

2. Nearly one Canadian couple in six experiences infertility problems. Infertility is not a choice. It is a medical condition. These couples need professional assistance in order to conceive. Yet today’s most advanced assisted reproduction technologies (ART) remain beyond their financial means.

3. The new government says that it will stand up for Canada by meeting the needs and interests of Canada’s families. Mr. Harper’s election platform declared that the family is the building block of society. What about standing up for Canadian couples who want to create their families, but can’t – because they need medical assistance to do so – assistance that is often beyond their private means.

4. The new government is committed to relieving financial pressures on low-income and middle-income families bringing up children. It has promised to provide childcare money directly to parents. Will it also provide assistance to couples who want to create families but cannot, without financial access to assisted reproductive technologies?

5. Restricting access to IVF compromises the fertility of women, causes immense financial hardship to couples requiring assisted conception treatments and makes IVF affordable for rich families only.

6. Infertility problems also carry social and economic costs: lost working hours, poor productivity, psychological and psychiatric support to treat stress and depression, and marital breakdowns.

7. The total cost of a refundable tax credit for IVF treatment would be $170 million for the entire country. This represents a little over one tenth of one percent of Canada’s $130 billion estimated total health care spending in 2004.

8. Since 1983, over 15,000 children have been born in Canada through assisted reproduction technologies. Today these children – many of whom are now of voting age – and their parents and extended families expect our political leaders to courageously and fairly address this important issue, so that all Canadians may share not only the costs but also the public benefits of IVF treatment.

9. It’s time for Canada to take a major step forward in health and family policy by guaranteeing funded IVF treatment. I sincerely hope our country’s infertile couples may rely on your support.

Write to your province’s lawmakers too! Canada’s provinces exercise primary control over health care. So please make sure that you also write to the Premier and members of your province’s legislative assembly.

To find your MLA you can search the Web at the following links:
Newfoundland and Labrador – House of Assembly
Prince Edward Island – Legislative Assembly
New Brunswick – Legislative Assembly
Nova Scotia – Legislative Assembly
Quebec –Assemblée nationale (National Assembly)
Manitoba– Legislative Assembly
Saskatchewan– Legislative Assembly
Alberta – Legislative Assembly