This post has been in the making for a few
months years now. It’s something I never talk about publicly because I suppose putting it out there would be an admission of its truth. This is probably the single most difficult post I will ever write.
It’s about our TTC journey.
I may be vocal and funny online, but when it comes to certain things (like TTC/Trying to Conceive), I’m a very private person.
Conceiving a baby and starting a family is something that I always thought was supposed to “just happen”. I always thought that women generally went to school, graduated from university, met their soul mate, fell in love, started a career, got married, bought a house, had babies, and lived happily ever after. Of course, we know that’s not exactly true or accurate an account of how life is “supposed” to be. That’s just what I thought my life was going to be. Life tosses so many obstacles and road blocks in our paths.
I went to college, received my Diplôme d’études collégiales in Liberal Arts/Social Science from college (C.E.G.E.P.). I then received my B.A. in Honours English with a Specialty in English Literature and a Minor in Linguistics. I taught English. I focused on work. I dated, but only met the right man for me when I was in my late twenties. We got married and both wanted to start a family immediately. We agreed that we wanted three children.
It took us fifteen months to conceive Little One.
It was an emotional roller coaster and just when we were about to give up, we all of a sudden discovered that I was pregnant. Little One arrived at 28 weeks and spent her first 72 days of life in the NICU.
She is now a happy, healthy, amazing five year old who keeps us very busy. We were thinking it’s maybe time to give her a sibling. At first, I was hesitant because I was worried about having another high risk pregnancy. Now that we’ve been trying for about a year, the thought of not being able to give her a little sister or brother is devastating.
I used to think “one is enough”. We can provide amply for one child. She will never be for want of anything — emotionally, physically, as well as for her education and general basic needs. Recently though, many people have been telling us, “You NEED to give her a baby brother or sister”, “She’ll be alone”, “It’s not fair for her to be an only child”, “You are a horrible, selfish parent and person for only having one child”. I understand that people who have no idea that we’ve been trying to conceive have no idea how hurtful those words are. It’s not like we’re not trying to conceive or grow our family.
I never thought I’d ever have to use the term TTC. I think that the idea of TTC really hits a woman’s core. After all, we’re supposed to be able to create life. The idea of not being able to have babies or even the challenges in getting pregnant really make you question yourself as a woman. At least in my case it does. I know I shouldn’t feel this way, but I can’t help it…which is likely why I don’t discuss this with anyone. I never wanted to admit to myself that we may be struggling with infertility. We were able to conceive Little One, so why are we having challenges TTC another baby?
The Number of Couples TTC is Larger than I imagined
In Ontario 1 in 6 couples struggle with infertility. For some of those couples IVF, in vitro fertilization, is the medically recommended course of action. But IVF is not covered by OHIP so many couples give up on having a family. Some try other less effective fertility treatments.
Some will pay $13,000 out of pocket for one round of IVF. Some will save endlessly, fundraise, drain RRSPs and take out second mortgages for the chance to have a baby via IVF.
Many areas of the world are funding IVF. Belgium, Australia, Ireland, Sweden etc.. There are many funding models that work. In Canada Quebec funds IVF – they pay for three rounds of single embryo transfer. Manitoba has a tax credit in place.
- If we do not fund IVF in Ontario, the incidence of multiple births continues to grow and cost health care systems more.
- We know the rate of multiple births is doubling roughly every decade in Canada.
- We now have one of the highest rates of multiple births for all the developing countries.
- The World Health Organization has recognized infertility as a complex medical health issue.
- Infertility impacts 1 in 6 couples.
- Infertility has wide ranging repercussions for society.
- Infertility means declining birth rates. That also translates into fewer taxpayers in future.
- Quebec is the first province in Canada to fund in vitro fertilization.
In Ontario, the Expert Panel on Infertility and Adoption stated that we can’t afford not to fund IVF. They also declared that best practices would see funding tied to single embryo transfer and up to three rounds of IVF. Single embryo transfer produces better results for mothers and babies.
In countries that have funded IVF – even those that tied it to a tax credit – the rate of multiple births has declined rapidly. The goal is to get the rate below 10 %.
The benefits of IVF funding tied to single embryo transfer (in addition to healthier outcomes for both Mom and baby, there are projected savings to healthcare systems.) The costs savings are achieved when fewer costly multiples are born. So for instance we know that people who transfer 3 embryos and potentially have triplets end up with extreme and lifelong health care issues. Also the mother can have a very high risk pregnancy and wind up placing her own health at risk. This costs health care systems a great deal in short term and long term costs. But we also know that because IVF is not funded that couples sometimes take a high risk because they are working three jobs or remortgaging their home to pay the costs of IVF.
Based on the projections of the Ontario Expert Panel Report on Infertility and Adoption:
400 Million to $550 million in savings over 10 years in hospital costs plus
$300-$460 million in savings related to long-term disability costs.
These estimates are based on a conservative estimate that the multiple birthrate will decline to under 10 % in a 10 year period. Quebec achieved this within one year.
Support & Build Awareness
Learning more about infertility and the number of couples experiencing it, makes me feel a little less alone. I am hoping that Ontario follows Quebec’s footsteps in IVF funding. I know my child-bearing window is closing, but hopefully other families can benefit from IVF funding in the future.
This week in Ontario, it was reported that there is funding for IVF in a draft budget. Funding for IVF will help so many couples in Ontario realize their goal of having a family. The budget needs final approval. What can you do to help make that happen? Please write, call, or tweet your MPP and tell them you support funding for IVF and would like to see it in the final budget.
Disclosure – This is a sponsored post, but one that is close to my heart. Thoughts and opinions expressed on this blog are honest and my own.