Friday, May 16th, 2014
A study of insurance coverage of in vitro fertilization (IVF) in Canada has found that the more complete the coverage of the common fertility procedure, the fewer multiple births are recorded. Multiple births–twins, triplets, or more–often happen when multiple embryos are transferred into a woman’s uterus as part of IVF. And multiple-embryo transfers often happen when women have limited resources to pursue a number of IVF cycles. Reuters has more on the Canadian study:
Quebec’s universal health insurance started covering all IVF-related costs in mid-2010. The new research is based on data from the first full year of coverage.
“Multiple pregnancies have important health consequences for pregnant women and their babies,” said lead author Dr. Maria Velez, from the University of Montreal.
Multiple pregnancies have an emotional and economic impact on families and cost the health system, which is a delicate point to bring up with patients dealing with fertility issues, she told Reuters Health by email. Patients are often misinformed about the negative consequences of multiple pregnancies, she said.
“Our obligation as medical doctors is to place the health of our patients above all,” Velez said. “Our role is to prevent a patient choosing a treatment that may cause harm if there is a safer alternative.”
Five fertility centers offer IVF in Quebec. The new study compared data from the Canadian Assisted Reproductive Technologies Register from those centers in 2009, before IVF was covered, and in 2011.
There were 1,875 fresh IVF cycles performed in 2009, which rose to 5,489 cycles in 2011. The number of clinical pregnancies and projected live births increased, while the rate of multiple pregnancies decreased from 29 percent to six percent.
And although public coverage of IVF led to more government spending per treatment cycle, the cost per live birth decreased, according to results published in Human Reproduction.
Researchers said the rate of multiple pregnancies likely fell because in Quebec, as in other areas with covered IVF, public policy requires that only one embryo be transferred at a time into women under age 36, called single-embryo transfer (SET). There were no restrictions on the number of embryos transferred at one time before the public coverage policy.
Under the policy, women who undergo IVF can still have several eggs harvested and embryos produced at once, but only one fresh one is implanted. The rest are frozen, and if the first embryo does not survive, another can be thawed and implanted.
Single-embryo transfer was much more common under universal coverage: 32 percent of cycles were elective SET in 2011, compared to two percent in 2009.
“This confirms what a lot of IVF practitioners have held in the U.S., that with insurance coverage single-embryo transfers are more likely to be done which is going to lower multiple birth rates which is safer and less expensive,” said Dr. Bradley J. Van Voorhis, director of the IVF Program at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine in Iowa City.
Image: Test tubes, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014
A Canadian mother is alleging that her daughter’s Catholic school is discriminating against her daughter by failing to accommodate her severe food allergy. More from The Huffington Post:
Lynne Glover recently filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario against Holy Name of Jesus Catholic School for allegedly discriminating against her daughter. The girl, Elodie, is severely allergic to dairy and eggs, and her mom says the school has failed to accommodate the child’s “disability,” according to Canadian outlet The Spec.
Glover pulled Elodie out of school earlier this year, but she wants the school to create an environment that would allow the 6-year-old to re-enroll, the outlet notes. Elodie has gone into anaphylactic shock nine times after being exposed to eggs and dairy.
“I want to ensure all children have access to a barrier free education, that anaphylaxis is more readily recognized as the disability it is. I would love to see board officials be required to undergo mandatory human rights training, there is a lack of understanding, compassion and empathy toward those with anaphylaxis,” Glover said, according to the outlet.
The mom has previously tried to work with the school’s board to create a safe environment for her daughter, but she says she does not think the school implemented enough precautions, CBC News reports.
A spokeswoman for the school board told the outlet she could not comment on the case. CBC News notes the board’s policy requires schools to take “every reasonable effort” to accommodate children with allergies, although it “cannot guarantee an allergen-free environment.”
The mother’s case seeks to ban dairy and egg products from the school, the National Post reports.
“They left me no choice but to file a claim to get them to the table because I wasn’t getting anywhere,” Glover told The National Post. “I’m not looking for a guaranteed allergy-free environment because I know it’s not possible. But reasonable accommodations that fall in line with our doctor’s diagnosis is just plain common sense.”
Image: School cafeteria tray, via Shutterstock
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Friday, April 26th, 2013
A growing number of American high school students are expanding their college searches to include Canadian universities that offer quality educations without the staggering pricetags many American colleges carry. NBC News has more:
About one in six people who owe money on their student loans is in default. Such a debt load is a harsh reality that is forcing a growing number of young people to look north to Canada for an education they can better afford.
Six percent of McGill’s student body is American, and the ranks are growing. The number of U.S. students at Canadian colleges rose 50 percent in a decade, and now about 10,000 Americans attend Canadian colleges, according to the Institute for College Access & Success.
That institute also says graduates from an American university can expect, on average, to carry more than $26,000 in debt. And about 9 percent of those grads default on student loans within two years.
The largest cost of going to school in the United States is the tuition, which is astronomical compared to Canada. At schools such as the University of Chicago and New York University, the annual tuition tops $40,000, far above their Canadian counterparts, which benefit from a tradition of robust government support.
Image: Canadian flag, via Shutterstock
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