Make fertility treatment equitable to everybody in Ireland

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Recent figures suggest 1 in 6 couples experience fertility issues. This is a real issue, a real concern and a growing problem in our society. Assisted human reproduction, including IVF, is a medical treatment that is suggested for couples who are unsuccessful in their attempts to start a family. The treatment is only available privately in a small few clinics across the country.

At the point of referral most women have been through hell. Infertility is a devastating experience that causes enormous emotional pain. It can impact on every aspect of an individual’s life affecting his/her self-esteem and relationships with others. Once a couple begin the IVF journey the figure for the final bill is unknown. The recent TV3 programme ‘the babymakers’ highlighted the financial, physical and emotional costs involved in the IVF process.

As a 33 year old woman currently undergoing IVF I feel very strongly that the financial cost of this treatment is inexcusable in this country. My husband and I want a family, therefore we have no option but to go through IVF. We therefore have no option but to pay whatever the clinic charge us. Our total bill thus far is in excess of €15000.00 but more devastatingly we have no baby yet. Ireland is only one of 3 countries in Europe that does not currently financially support citizens paying for IVF. This must change. As recent news media suggest, state funding for IVF is back on the agenda again.

Simon Harris- You stated in June 2016 that ‘once the General Scheme is completed and the AHR legislation is subsequently enacted, the Government will be in a position to provide fertility treatments based on the best model of funding for Ireland’. Today the Cabinet approved legislation to regulate assisted human reproduction, which will lead to financial aid for couples struggling to afford treatments such as IVF.

This petition clearly puts it to you that all couples who require medical treatment for fertility related issue, including IVF, be included in this scheme. It is our strong position that everyone be included not solely those with medical cards and/or those in receipt of social welfare or equivalent. Middle income earners must not be penalised and/or excluded from any proposals you bring forward. Please be mindful that those working and striving to pay for these treatments expect to be included in any proposals you come up with. We have a voice and we will be heard.

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