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Ontario-based foundation offering grants to cover IVF treatments

Ontario-based foundation offering grants to cover IVF treatments

For most Canadians, starting a family can be a costly endeavour.

Beyond the complexities of expenses surrounding the management of a new life, there is another expense a substantial amount of Canadians are actively facing: fertility itself. 

One in six Canadians struggle with fertility, and in response to that ratio, the Ontario-based Fertility Friends Foundation has launched a massive incentive to help those across Ontario afford in vitro fertility (IVF) treatments. 

According to Dr. Chloe Roumain, co-founder of Fertility Friends and infertility specialist, most provinces only cover a single round of IVF treatments — after that — patients are on their own. This means that any additional rounds of treatment or corresponding medications are paid for upfront by the patient. 

As a result of this medical disparity, the Fertility Friends Foundation was created. 

“Most of the time, people need more than one cycle because they are often not successful… So people will have to pay out of pocket as government funding does not cover nearly everything,” Roumain told “As physicians, we were faced with having these conversations daily with most patients. Financial aspects take up half of the consultations at most times.”

Primary services provided by the organization surround education for those looking to get pregnant through IVF, mainly through financial support and detailed breakdowns on health management during an IVF procedure. 

Non-government subsidized IVF cycles will put a patient in the hole by roughly $20,000, a cost that most people in Ontario can’t afford, as Roumain indicates that 60 to 70 per cent of individuals can’t cover these payments. Beyond the financial strain, the hoops one must jump through for these treatments also consume a substantial amount of time.  

“It takes a very long time for people to get to their goal. You don’t come in for an IVF consultation and just start tomorrow; that’s not how it works. If you’re lucky, your clinic has a good turnaround and it takes a few months to lock in that appointment, then it takes another set of months to do the testing,” says Roumain. 

In response to the stacked odds against those seeking IVF treatments, the Fertility Friends Foundation launched a major funding incentive to correlate with Canadian Fertility Awareness Week in April. 

The new funding program is a major adjustment to the organization’s previous grant system — a $5,000 stipend towards the cost of an IVF cycle. Instead, this new program offers applicants the chance to have their entire IVF cycle covered by clinics partnered with Fertility Friends.  

“Five thousand dollars is a lot of money, but based on the time spent, the wages spent, and the fact that patients may need multiple cycles, it’s just a drop in the bucket. So with this partnership, our impact is going to be much bigger, and as more clinics join, the more our applicants have a chance of having their cycle covered,” says Roumain. 

Applications for this new grant will be open on April 1 and the list of partnered clinics in Ontario will be made public around the same time. For the team at Fertility Friends, this funding incentive is the result of years of work. Or as Roumain puts it,

“This is what we’ve been trying to do, what we’ve been dreaming of, and now, we’re finally there.” 

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