Skip to main content

Engagement must start now on establishing criteria for individuals availing of free IVF – Burke

8th January 2023 - Colm Burke TD

Engagement must begin now in establishing eligibility criteria for publicly funded IVF treatment ahead of the roll-out of some services later this year, according to Fine Gael TD Colm Burke.

Deputy Burke, Fine Gael health spokesperson, said: “Any couple or individual that has gone through in-vitro fertilization (IVF) knows that it can be a huge financial strain as well as emotionally difficult in hoping that treatments are successful and culminate in a healthy pregnancy.

“People can avail of a tax rebate on some treatments and medications and there is some level of cover through private health insurers.

“However most of the cost is borne by the patient and this can often run into tens of thousands of euros depending on how many cycles IUI Intrauterine insemination (IUI) , IVF or ICSI Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)a woman must avail of.

“Therefore it is extremely welcome that the Government intends to introduce a publicly funded model of care for fertility treatment to help women and men at what can be an extremely stressful period in their lives.cOL

“More than 10,000 patients underwent IVF, IUI and frozen embryo transfer cycles in 2020. It is not known how many travel abroad for treatment although the figure is thought to be significant.

“€10 million was allocated in Budget 2023 to support advanced AHR treatments, which is one of the first steps towards the provision of a fully public fertility service.

“Phase One of the roll-out of the Model of Care involved the establishment of Regional Fertility Hubs within maternity networks to facilitate the management of a significant proportion of patients presenting with infertility issues there.

“Five Regional Fertility Hubs are currently operational and it is anticipated that the sixth and final Regional Fertility Hub is expected to open early in 2023.

“The first National Advanced AHR Centre, delivering IVF and ICSI through a wholly public clinic, is expected to open in the early part of 2024. It will provide a nationwide service with all six Regional Fertility Hubs having equity of access for onward referral to it.

“I would hope that funding would be provided in the future to provide additional National Advanced AHR Centres which would open and ensure coverage in all parts of the country.

“Separate funding is being made available to support access to advanced AHR treatment via private providers from September 2023.

“I understand the Minister for Health and his department are planning for the roll out of the service, in addition to developing a national eligibility framework.

“I would urge that this be published as soon as practicable to give those seeking to avail of treatment clarity, in addition to how eligible patients can obtain private treatments with the interim funding that is being provided by the Minister.

“Deciding on eligibility will involve engagement with stakeholder groups and this must be undertaken urgently as patients wishing to avail of these important treatments need this vital help.

“The provision of IVF services will be underpinned by the Health (Assisted Human Reproduction) Bill 2022 which has been referred to the Select Committee on Health for Third Stage and will hopefully pass through both houses of the Oireachtas in due course.”

Stay Up To Date With Fine Gael