Calgary organization helps families cover costs of IVF 

Melanie Ducharme says “I am six months pregnant with a little girl, and she is an IVF [in vitro fertilization] baby.” Melanie and Randy Ducharme, a married couple living in Calgary, successfully conceived their son through intra uterine insemination (IUI) in 2013. They have a passion for helping other families conceive after experiencing the difficult process themselves.

What is Generations of Hope?

Generations of Hope is a non-profit organization dedicated to family and the ability to have children – they succeed in doing this through campaigns and fundraisers.

Hundreds of people came to Images of Hope, an annual spring event put on by Generations of Hope, that aims to raise money towards helping low-income families who have fertility issues, but can’t afford the pricey fertility procedures, which cost between $13,000 and $16,000 per cycle. This year’s Images of Hope was hosted on Mar. 7, 2015, and raised $85,000

Looking for the funding

Terri Abraham, President of Generations of Hope spoke about the lack of funding for infertile Albertans and says, “We’re working on trying to get the government to look at public funding of fertility treatments because we believe and The World Health Organization states that it is a medical condition. We live in Alberta where health care is paid for, and we believe it should be provided as part of our health care services.”

Abraham says: “I got involved because I was going through treatment myself to have a family and after being successful in having my first son I said I wanted to give back.” Since 2005, 128 babies have been born from fertility treatments paid for by Generations of Hope.

At the event there were silent and live auctions, as well as a dinner and fun activities to raise awareness – including selling Crave Cupcakes for $100 each to win a grand prize of a trip for two anywhere West Jet flies. In less than four minutes all of the cupcakes were sold and they raised $15,000 which is about the cost of one cycle of IVF.

Get involved

One of the silent auction items was a fresh round of IVF with a minimum bid of $5,000.
Photo by Melanie Walsh
Abraham says that they have an ongoing petition with 25,000 Albertan signatures and that is just the beginning. “We’re following a study that the Alberta government did themselves that shows overall cost savings to health care if fertility treatment was funded,” says Abraham.

“If the government was paying for treatments they could put in a single embryo transfer policy, which would mean with any treatment the multiple rates of birth would be significantly reduced. Whereas now if a couple pays $15,000, they may choose to put in two embryos at a time because they don’t have another $15,000. They’re trying to up their odds of success by putting in more embryos.”

Abraham explains the implantation of more than one embryo drastically increases health care costs, due to both the pregnancy and the birth being considered high-risk. Health care costs are increased as high-risk situations require several more protocols and procedures.

jbrady@cjournal.ca