Government-funded IVF: our process & timing for selecting patients

JANUARY 27, 2016

The Hannam Fertility Centre will be choosing individuals on a quarterly basis for funded cycles using a randomized algorithm. The purpose of the algorithm is to provide all patients access to the funded IVF program. Everyone has a chance. Currently the only exception to this process are patients with cancer, for whom there is a parallel fertility preservation pathway.

The next group of eligible individuals will be selected February 5th, 2016 for treatment between April 1st and June 30th, 2016.

How to get your patients on our IVF Eligibility List:

  • Current HFC patients need only contact their nurse.
  • New patients for public or private care may contact our New Patient Coordinator team for an appointment. Referrals can be made through our website or by fax (416) 506-0680.

Private Care

Access to private fertility care in Ontario, and our clinic in particular, remains unchanged. Individuals and couples are still in control of their timelines whenever they choose to access private care. Here is the link to the government website.

More information to come — if you have questions, please contact us:

Jennifer Malcew, Physician Relations, Hannam Fertility Centre
Jennifer.Malcew@HannamFertility.com or 416.595.1521 x9389

Government-funded IVF: our timeline for the launch

DECEMBER 10, 2015

We received a letter this week from the Ontario Minister of Health. The funded IVF program will be starting in a few weeks’ time. It appears the funding program is almost live. We (participating clinics) are to finalize our contracts by December 14th, 2015.

What this means for your patients:

  • We will not be able to register patients for treatment this December
  • We will be able to contact our first set of patients (for cycles to be completed early in the new year — prior to March 31st, 2016) by Friday, January 8th, 2016 at the latest
  • We do not have any plans to commit to any funded IVF dates or treatments this week. We just received the news and need to understand key details (exactly how registration occurs, what consents need be signed, etc.) By end of next week — Friday, December 18th, 2015, we will be able to set expectations for how patients are to be contacted and expectations managed.
  • After the ‘first set’ of patients are organized, we will be able to set expectations for cycles to run April and beyond. We hope to be able to set expectations for treatment at our clinic and across Ontario.

More information to come — if you have questions, please contact us:

Jennifer Malcew, Physician Relations, Hannam Fertility Centre
Jennifer.Malcew@HannamFertility.com or 416.595.1521 x9389

Government-funded IVF: how waiting lists will work

NOVEMBER 19, 2015

This week, all participating Ontario clinics heard about funding for IUI and IVF from the Ontario Ministry of Health.

What we know

  • Both IUI and IVF have been “delisted”, with fixed amounts of funding allocated to each clinic. This means every clinic will be offering a different experience for IUI and IVF.
  • Private care remains at the discretion of the clinic, but funded care will be accessible only through waiting lists. In Quebec, volume tripled when funding came through, and waiting lists were a reality from the start. The Ministry anticipated this outcome for Ontario, and expects each clinic to manage wait lists as they see fit.
  • How will wait lists work? Clinics will look to first come first serve, lottery systems, triage, or a combination depending on their philosophy.

Hannam Fertility Centre solutions

We are building a lottery-and-triage system for our community. We believe that everyone who meets one of our physicians and needs help (whether we met in 2012, 2015 or in 2016), who qualifies through OHIP, deserves an opportunity for a healthy ongoing pregnancy. We also believe we provide the surest route to that outcome. We will provide more details as soon as possible. And we plan to build a solution for you that can maximize patient access with a single referral. More information to come — if you have questions, please contact us:

Jennifer Malcew, Physician Relations, Hannam Fertility Centre
Jennifer.Malcew@HannamFertility.com or 416.595.1521 x9389

Government-funded IVF: wait lists, metrics, and OHIP details

NOVEMBER 17, 2015

Valuable information for your fertility patients.

Funded IVF will be open to patients who carry OHIP cards.

But it isn’t like other OHIP fee-for-service systems. With this new funding system, clinics will be assigned a fixed number of treatments per location. Patients are not required to purchase any unfunded services as a condition of accessing the funded IVF program.

The Ministry wants to be clear that extra clinical tests or lab services are optional, and that patients should be able to access the funded basket of treatment without having to pay for unfunded services. This means, beyond medication costs, there should not be any financial barriers to receive the basket of IVF care.

The basket of IVF services will include all of:

  • Medical assessment and counselling
  • Diagnostic blood and ultrasound services
  • Cycle monitoring
  • Egg retrieval
  • Sperm retrieval, including aspiration if necessary (for men with low counts or blocked/absent tubes)
  • IVF, ICSI, assisted hatching, blastocyst culture, embryo freezing and embryo thawing
  • All embryo transfers resulting from the funded cycle or from a single batch of pre-existing embryos

Some IVF related services are not funded, such as storage fees for frozen materials. Nonetheless, a lot is covered. For some, pregnancy rates can be very high with this basket of services alone.

The Ministry is anticipating wait lists.

There will be wait lists, particularly for the higher quality labs. Unfortunately, as every clinic has a different wait list, it will be difficult for patients to know where to go. Should they go everywhere? For now, the answer is “yes”, but don’t send multiple referrals yet—we hope to be able to consolidate this information for you in the weeks ahead.

We intend to provide a care-referral solution for all your patients.

Quality metrics are unlikely to be released to physicians or the public.

The Ministry, by tracking patients, will know the pregnancy rates per clinic, but there are no plans at this time to release this data.

Government-funded IVF: what does it mean for your patients?

NOVEMBER 16, 2015

The Ontario Ministry of Health has confirmed that they will have an IVF Funding program in place by December 2015. They don’t yet know if that means Dec 1 or 31.

The Ministry will cover 5000 IVF cycles a year, and they are going to decide in advance how many of those funded cycles each clinic will be eligible to run. We—all clinics—should know the volume we can provide your patients before the end of November.

“Should I encourage patients to delay IVF?”

For now, in most cases, yes. We will all know more in the next few weeks and it is reasonable for most patients to delay treatments for now. Presumably, we will have clarity by the end of 2015.

“Do I need to refer patients?”

If your patient is currently working with our clinic they do not need a new referral—they need only to express interest to our primary care team. They can also sign up here to receive information as it becomes available.

“Will there be wait lists?”

We think there will be, but the length of time on a list cannot be determined until we know how many cycles we have to offer. We will to continue to offer the highest pregnancy rates to all patients. We do this in many ways, but with IVF, it comes down to maintaining the quality of our laboratory. We will continue to limit the number of patients we see, to keep our laboratory services optimized for every patient that comes though. Patients can choose their timelines. If it is less stressful for your patient to come through private care now, and avoid wait lists, they can use their funded cycle in the future.

This is a time of great change for health care in Ontario and we want to continue working together. More information will be coming soon. If you would prefer to receive updates via email, please feel free to connect with us directly:

Jennifer Malcew, Physician Relations, Hannam Fertility Centre
Jennifer.Malcew@HannamFertility.com or 416.595.1521 x9389

Dr. Kim Garbedian joins Hannam Fertility Centre

OCTOBER 9, 2014

We’re excited to welcome Dr. Kim Garbedian, M.D., F.R.C.S.C. (R.E.I) to the Hannam Fertility clinical team. Dr. Garbedian shares our patient-centered approach to fertility, and brings a wealth of experience and research insights with her. Her areas of interest include polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), reproductive aging, thyroid disease and more. She was recently awarded the University of Toronto’s Knox Ritchie Research Prize for a second successive year for her fertility research.

If you’re one of Dr. Garbedian’s existing patients, you can read her letter here. It includes information on transferring your electronic medical record to Hannam Fertility Centre, so you can continue your treatment with Dr. Garbedian if you wish. We’d be happy to assist with the transfer, show you our new clinic and introduce you to our team.