Sunday, August 23, 2009

IVF Follow Up

I should note that even though the "leading fertility expert" made no mention of the moral implications of IVF, Ms. Ilha and Mr. Attaran do, however superficially:

But here’s the sour cherry on top: this discriminatory, hazardous system that needlessly sends couples running to the bank, that sickens mothers, and that kills babies is also costing the taxpayer a fortune. Why? Because whenever there is an adverse medical outcome, OHIP must pay to treat it. Some of the adverse outcomes are increased 1,000 per cent by our current system. Ontario is throwing away millions of dollars this way.

If Caplan wants to stop this lunacy, he need look no further than Quebec, where the government recently announced it will switch to free IVF (within clinical limits, of course). Quebec got the idea from Europe, after studies in Britain, Finland and Holland proved that when governments switched to free IVF and clinical guidelines to reduce the costliest and most dangerous multiple births, more healthy babies were born to more happy families — and the taxpayer saved money.

Although they gloss over the nebulous "clinical guidelines to reduce the costliest and most dangerous multiple births" (selective abortion, anyone?), at least they address some of the other issues. Of course, their complaint that the government is currently making a mistake by being the arbiter of IVF availability doesn't really jive with the idea of the government setting "clinical guidelines". Oh well, couples in desperation shouldn't be counted on for a whole lot of intellectual consistency.

There is one more thing that sticks in my craw: the notion that Quebec is switching to "free IVF". I know what they mean; they mean government funded IVF, but the sloppiness of their language perhaps belies any depth of thought on this issue. No matter what the costs to the patient, IVF will not be free. Someone is going to have to pay for it. I guess they're not complaining about the unfair treatment of socialized health care, they're just annoyed that the rest of us aren't picking up the tab.

It's understable, but it's not persuasive.

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