A new bloggy sponsor and a cause worth supporting: Conceivable Dreams

by DaniGirl on September 5, 2012 · 6 comments

in Infertility, It IS all about me, Life, the Universe and Everything

Almost three years ago to the day, I wrote a blog post about the province of Ontario announcement that it would be funding in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments. I wrote: “yippee!” Okay, so I wrote a lot more than that, and I’ll re-hash a lot of that in the next little while, because I’ve happily agreed to write a few posts about IVF funding for Conceivable Dreams, our newest bloggy sponsor. Conceivable Dreams is a grass roots patient advocacy organization advocating for better funding for IVF from government and private employers, a cause I support with all my heart.

The blog post I wrote back in 2009 about Ontario’s proposed funding for IVF treatments breaks my heart. Once every couple of months, someone posts a sad comment or sends me a heart-wrenching e-mail begging for information, for an update, for some glimmer of hope — and I have said so many times that I’m so sorry, but I don’t have any information. That announcement back in 2009 has been followed by three years of inaction and silence from the the government. Imagine waiting to start your family for three long years, with the family of your dreams tantalizingly close — but still not attainable.

With the cacophony of three little boys that fill our ears and hearts to bursting, it’s sometimes hard to remember the dark days of our infertility diagnosis and hard to believe that once upon a time, some doctor told us that we had practically no chance to conceive a child on our own. Infertility is so much more than a clinical diagnosis. It means giving up on a dream you felt entitled to your whole life. It is standing on a precipice with a yawing future devoid of the children you already felt were a part of you. It is losing what you never had but always expected.

Our only hope for pregnancy lay down the path of in vitro treatments, at a cost then that started around $7,000 — with no promise of success. Imagine spending that kind of money — on a maybe. I remember sitting in the armchair in the bedroom of the townhouse we rented, just me and Beloved and Katie, and crying my heart out to my mother on the phone. How could we ever afford something like that? We couldn’t even scrape together enough for a downpayment on a house. It may as well have been $70,000 as $7,000. And my wise, sweet mother asked me a question that I never forgot: “What else are you going to spend your money on?”

Indeed, that was the perspective I needed. For us, there was nothing else we wanted – not vacations, not cars, not a fancy house or toys or clothes. We wanted that family, and we had wanted it since we were each children ourselves. Beloved and I were born to be parents, and I believe that to my core to this day. It still seems so wrong to me that what stood between our younger selves and the family we dreamed of was money – the money to pay for a medical treatment.

Beyond the emotional, there are solid medical and financial reasons that the province should get moving on implementing coverage for IVF, and I wrote at length about them back in 2009. One of the driving factors behind funding IVF is controlling the number of multiple births, which are expensive on the health care system with higher incidences of premature births, c-sections, and intensive neo-natal care. Whereas (provincially funded) intrauterine insemination has no control over the number of embryos created, IVF allows for precise control of the number of embryos implanted.

And I still stand behind what I wrote, back in 2009 (really, just go read the blog post, it will be easier, and it’s a good one!):

You know what I would even consider as a reasonable compromise, for those of you who feel that taxpayer dollars should not be funding fertility treatments? Fund unsuccessful treatment cycles. Including two IUIs, a cycle of IVF with ICSI, four years of frozen embryo storage, and the costs to thaw and transfer Frostie, we easily spent $10,000 or $12,000 to overcome our infertility. I think you’ll agree that my darling Tristan is worth every penny times a thousand. We’re lucky that we never had to face the unimaginable agony of an unsuccessful round of IVF treatments compounded by the idea of spending all that money for naught — just try to imagine spending everything you have, financially and emotionally, and coming away empty-handed.

It’s for all these reasons and more that I am proud to support the work of Conceivable Dreams. If you have any doubt in your heart, read the comments at the end of the post I wrote back in 2009 for just a sample of the struggle facing thousands of Ontario families-in-waiting. For more information, you can visit the Conceivable Dreams website, or follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

Disclosure: I am a valued member of the Conceivable Dreams blog team, and I have been compensated for this blog post. However, the opinions expressed on this blog are always my own.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 n00b September 5, 2012 at 4:35 pm

If it was all about “the family of your dreams”, wouldn’t people adopt? Most people will not because they are gung-ho on planting their own seeds. They are not interested in children; they are interested in reproducing themselves.

2 Kerry September 5, 2012 at 8:02 pm

So, the skinny is this: they’ll fund IVF if you have a diagnosis of “true infertility”, generally defined as “blocked fallopian tubes”. Here in Ottawa, you get that diagnosis from the Fertility Centre. I’m not sure what happens in other cities though. They’ll fund three attempts.

3 Allison September 5, 2012 at 9:06 pm

I am saddened to see the first comment on this post is one that naively implies that people should ‘just adopt’ and likens fertility treatment to the need to ‘plant your own seeds’. Clearly you have not walked a mile in someone’s shoes who is faced with the reality that although most people’s family dreams come relatively easily, for some it does not. Clearly you have not opened your mind to the raw emotion that a couple faces going through some very big decisions that they never wanted to make. Clearly you don’t understand that adoption is not a straightforward process – you don’t just get handed a bubbling baby. Clearly you don’t know that can be long waiting times for adopting domestically, and that it costs tens of thousands of dollars to adopt internationally, and this is becoming more difficult to do as well. Please, please try to look from another perspective before making such remarks.

4 DaniGirl September 6, 2012 at 8:44 am

Thanks Allison for replying to the first comment. Well said, and I’m sorry that the discussion started off with a troll – that’s pretty rare around here.

Kerry, there are way more forms of infertility than just dual blocked fallopian tubes, and that’s the only thing that’s funded. That’s my problem – the system is inequitable all over the place.

5 Jennyandtim September 7, 2012 at 7:20 am

Good job Allison on articulating a nice reply to the first poster.

I’m torn about government (US) funding for IVF. Having gone through five rounds of IVF, some covered by insurance, some not, we spent a lot of out of pocket money to have our children. If we could have that money back, our lives would be much more comfortable, but having the boys is a much better return on investment.

I have a general distrust of the government (US), how they spend money, and how they are involved in peoples’ lives.

6 The Urban Daddy October 10, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Hi there,

I just came across this article and I want to say right away that it is one of the best I have seen on IVF Funding in Ontario, Conceivable Dreams and the impact that not funding it has on the healthcare system – and the taxpayers here in Ontario.

I am disturbed and saddened by the first comment, however. This person – clearly to ashamed to post their own real name or a link to their writings – has some deep rooted issues which help explain why IVF is not being funded.

“n00b” obviously has no idea about how long and complicated it is to adopt in Ontario and thinks that the solution for a massive issue like infertility is adoption. Well, n00b, in order to adopt, not only can it be just as expensive as IVF, but there are many, many hurdles which have to be passed, including home studies, background checks, visits to where the baby/child live, a ton of paperwork all with the hope that there is a child there at the end of the day.

In our case after 4 years of being unable to conceive we went that route and after 2 1/2 years we were no closer to being a family. I guess I should have asked you, since you know the way it works…

Then, when we were finally making progress, we fell pregnant which stops the progress until 1 1/2 years after the baby is born.

After all was said and done, adoption was no longer an option for us.

I’d like to re-post your post, if you mind, please just send me an email.

Keep up the great work!


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