Houston PC government will fund fertility assistance for parents-to-be

A PC government will recognize the struggle that hopeful parents face in becoming parents, by introducing financial support for fertility expenses in Nova Scotia.

“We understand that there are parents out there who are undergoing IVF treatment after IVF treatment pouring their life savings into it,” says Houston. “It’s time Nova Scotia joined other provinces in supporting those who have hopes of conceiving.”

Treatments can cost between $10,000 and $20,000 per cycle, making it financially inaccessible to many. Unlike other provinces including PEI, New Brunswick and Manitoba, Nova Scotia offers no assistance for couples struggling to conceive.

A PC government will cover roughly 40% of the cost of fertility treatments provided by a Nova Scotian licensed medical practitioner or infertility treatment clinic. Nova Scotians can claim up to a maximum of $20,000 in eligible costs, for a maximum of $8,000 per year.

Brittenay Bell is one of the many Nova Scotians who was faced with fertility barriers to expand her family. She and her husband Aaron went through - in their own words “six years of trying, three miscarriages, two full rounds of IVF, three embryo transfers and spent about $35,000 out of pocket to have their miracle, Nathan.’

“I still consider us one of the lucky ones because, after all, we have a baby when many don’t,” said Bell. “The need for assisted reproduction affects so many Nova Scotians. Yet, we continue to see our struggles downplayed, judged, and ignored. Even if you yourself aren’t going through it, chances are someone you know or love is.”

Bell said it’s important to share her story, so others understand that parents will take any step needed to be loving parents.

“This is such a small glimpse into our struggle,” says Bell. “It doesn’t truly capture the emotional and physical pain we endured, the burden we faced financially trying to make numbers work and skimping on anything we could, nor the toll it took on our mental health over those 6 years.”

Houston hopes Bell’s story will help change the narrative. Houston says leadership is about speaking up for everyone, noting that many in the 2SLGBTQ+ community are trying to become parents, and have no option but to pay the whole cost.

“My wife and I have been fortunate. I am not going to pretend I know what it’s like to struggle with infertility,” says Houston. “But for too many, it is expensive, inequitable, and stigmatizing. We’re going to talk about it, and support those who want to be parents.”

“These improvements will help a whole generation of Nova Scotian parents-to-be, and strengthen a future generation of little Nova Scotians.”

There is no comprehensive, national coverage for assisted fertility treatments.

“It is so encouraging to see the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia include a fertility treatment tax credit on their platform. This will help not only my family but so many other Nova Scotians,” says Bell. “It’s a wonderful starting point to get the conversation going and hopefully will one day lead to fertility treatment being fully covered.”