IVF should be publicly funded - Fine Gael TD

Catherine Byrne says couples spending thousands on fertility treatment need State support

Catherine Byrne said IVF should be funded by the public health system. Photograph : Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times

Catherine Byrne said IVF should be funded by the public health system. Photograph : Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times

 

A Fine Gael TD has called for IVF to be made available through the public health system.

Dublin South Central deputy Catherine Byrne said the fertility treatment was provided free of charge on the NHS in the UK in certain cases.

“I have personal experience of a family member and friends going through IVF, so I know how difficult it can be. Not alone can it be a heart-breaking and frustrating experience, but it is incredibly expensive,” she said.

Ms Byrne said she would raise the idea of publicly funded IVF with Minister for Health James Reilly

“Assisted human reproduction (AHR) is covered by the NHS in the UK and I don’t see why it cannot be made available on the public health system here. Prospective parents here can offset the cost of private AHR treatment against their income tax liability, and the cost of prescribed AHR medicines is an allowable expense under the Drugs Payment Scheme,” she said.

However, she said many couples needed to try the treatment more than once and experienced huge financial strain as a result.

Ms Byrne said the Commission on Assisted Human Reproduction published a report in 2005 on how AHR might be regulated in Ireland. She said it was not acted upon by previous Governments.