For the Media

The CFAS is a multidisciplinary national non-profit Society that serves as the voice of reproductive specialists, scientists, and allied health professionals working in the field of Assisted Reproduction in Canada.  

Access to Expertise

The CFAS can arrange nationwide access to experts on topics relating to the medical, scientific, laboratory, ethical, legal and counselling aspects of assisted reproduction and we have members who can speak on regional and national issues.

CFAS experts can provide insight on: reproductive health issues both within Canada and around the world, including assisted reproduction technologies, clinical standards, infertility, third-party reproduction, reproductive rights, scientific and technical innovations in the field and numerous other topics related to the field of reproductive health and assisted reproduction.

Media Contact:
Goldi Gill, Executive Director
Tel: (416) 451-9555  or 


Media Releases  

Canadian IVF clinics continue to improve patient safety and efficacy by bringing the multiple pregnancy rate arising from IVF to an all-time low of 7.9%, while raising the clinical pregnancy rate following the first embryo transfer to 39.7% for women of all ages. (September 2018)

Montreal, QC – Canadian in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment outcomes for 2017 and birth outcomes for pregnancies achieved through IVF for 2016 were presented at the recent Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society Meeting held in Montreal, QC.

Thirty-six IVF centres in Canada voluntarily submit their data to the Canadian Assisted Reproduction Registry (CARTR) Plus, which is managed by Better Outcomes Registry and Network (BORN) Ontario. By joining forces these two entities are now able to provide not only treatment outcome results, but also follow-up on children born through IVF, although for now, only those born in Ontario. It is hoped that other provinces will also link with BORN to provide accurate national statistics in the future.

The number of IVF cycles initiated increased in Ontario and decreased in Quebec, largely due to the availability of funding or lack thereof. Overall there was still a slight increase in the number of cycles initiated (33,092). “We are proud to state that in 2017 the multiple pregnancy rate from IVF treatment in Canada was reduced to the lowest rate ever achieved at 7.9% (from 32% in 2009),” said Dr Albert Yuzpe, Chair of the IVF Medical Directors Group and Past President of CFAS.

The type of assisted reproductive technology (ART) services accessed by Canadians continues to change and now includes many women choosing to preserve their fertility for social (personal) reasons. In addition, egg freezing for women undergoing treatment for cancer and other medical conditions which could potentially jeopardize their fertility has become more universally available.


Canadian Infertility Awareness Week (CIAW) moves to April for 2018 - Fertility Matters Canada

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Canadian Infertility Awareness Week (CIAW) moves to April for 2018

Wednesday, March 21 (Moncton, NB) – On behalf of its staff, Board of Directors and Advisory Committees, Fertility Matters Canada is pleased to announce that this year’s Canadian Infertility Awareness Week (CIAW) will take place from April 23 – 29.

As always, CIAW will be celebrated with both local and national programs to highlight and support Canadians who are struggling to start or grow their families.

In past years, CIAW was held in May, but, as Carolynn Dubé, Executive Director of Fertility Matters Canada explains, “May is the month Canadians celebrate Mother’s Day. The feedback from our supporters has been that it is difficult for them to focus positive attention on our awareness week with Mother’s Day being celebrated just days before. So many Canadians have not yet achieved their dream of having a family.”

With one in six Canadians struggling to conceive or to build their families, Dubé says, “That is a significant number. We want to ensure our focus remains on supporting them. Moving CIAW to align with other awareness events that week, including National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) in the United States, creates an international conversation with the opportunity to amplify our voices and celebrate our stories. During CIAW, we encourage patients to share their journeys so that others will know that they are not alone.”

Canadian Infertility Awareness Week is an opportunity for the 1 in 6 Canadians experiencing fertility challenges to share their experiences with each other and with the wider community. Throughout the week, experts in the field of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) and patients will share their stories through the Fertility Matters Canada online streams. These will join the already-powerful #1in6 stories that are published on the website (fertilitymatters.ca) and social media channels.

There will also be fundraisers and community events held across the country, encouraging support for Fertility Matters Canada’s mission of hosting peer-led support groups, lobbying government, and educating staff, volunteers, and the Canadian public about fertility.

“CIAW has always been an important event on the calendar, and this year we hope that by having a unified fertility awareness week, more Canadians will learn about all of the information and support that they can access.” says Dr. Sharon Mortimer, President of Fertility Matters Canada. “It is our aim that everyone who is facing challenges in trying to start or grow their family knows that they don’t have to face them alone.”

Full information on events and webinars will be posted at www.fertilitymatters.ca/events.

Media Opportunities

Fertility Matters Canada is pleased to provide spokespeople for your local, provincial, or national stories. Interview subjects are available in regions across Canada, and our leadership, including staff and board of directors, are also available.

To request an interview, please contact: Carolynn Dubé, Executive Director, Fertility Matters Canada,  or 514-980-6263.


A comprehensive scientific review of the growing practice of « social » egg freezing has produced 12 clear recommendations for women in their 20s and 30s
PRESS RELEASE
March 12, 2018

In the March issue of the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (JOGC), the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS) and Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (SOGC) released their guidelines on the use of egg freezing in response to a trend among young women to freeze their eggs as a means of preserving their fertility.

In Canada, the average age at which women have their first child is increasing and more than half of all births now occur in women over the age of 30. The postponement of parenthood has increased the probability that women may reach an age at which the quality and quantity of their eggs make natural conception challenging. As a result, many women are consulting physicians to learn about egg freezing.

“What has been called ‘social’ egg freezing has sparked controversy in recent years as companies like Facebook and Apple announced new benefits to their female employees giving them the opportunity to freeze their eggs if they elect to postpone attempting conception” says Mark Evans, Executive Director of CFAS.

Through the CARTR-BORN database, CFAS is able to track outcomes of assisted reproductive technologies. According to Dr. Jason Min, President of CFAS, “the number of social egg freezing cycles has been increasing each year since 2013 and now approaches 2% of all IVF cycles performed in Canada.”

While the overall numbers are small, CFAS and SOGC expect that the trend will continue and believe it important that women have the best available information when planning for pregnancy, particularly when this involves the use of assisted reproductive technologies like egg freezing. The guideline sets out a series of 12 recommendations that address issues like optimal age, risks and benefits, and the likelihood of success.

“On average 80-90% of eggs survive the thaw, 70-80% fertilize and only a subset of embryos will result in a live birth.” Says Dr. Neal Mahutte, Chair of the CFAS Clinical Practice Guideline Committee. “There is no doubt that the age at which a woman freezes her eggs and the number of eggs frozen impact IVF success rates. However, women undergoing social egg freezing need to understand that what they are preserving is a chance to have a future child with their own eggs and that it is not a guarantee.”

The recommendations were developed by a joint CFAS-SOGC committee, which conducted a comprehensive review of published studies on the subject. This document should serve as an important tool for family doctors, obstetricians, fertility specialists and patients.


Multiple pregnancy rate resulting from IVF at an all-time low of 9.7% in Canada

PRESS RELEASE
November 1, 2017

Vancouver, BC – Canadian IVF treatment outcomes for 2016 and birth outcomes for pregnancies achieved through IVF for 2015 were presented at the recent Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society Meeting held in Vancouver, BC.

All but 1 of the 34 IVF centres in Canada voluntarily submit their data to the Canadian Assisted Reproduction Registry (CARTR) which is managed by BORN Ontario. By joining forces these 2 entities are now able to provide not only treatment outcome results, but also follow-up on children born through IVF, although for now, only those born in Ontario. It is hoped that other provinces will also link with BORN to provide accurate national statistics in the future.

The following represents aggregate data for all clinics. Individual clinic statistics can only be obtained directly from the clinic itself. When interpreting individual clinic data, it is essential to consider that specific clinic populations vary considerably and may account for outcome variations. For example, some clinics attract a higher proportion of women in the older reproductive age group, others attract patients who have had poor treatment outcomes in the past, etc. Thus, simply comparing one clinic’s outcomes with another may be quite misleading.

“A significant reduction in the multiple pregnancy rate has been achieved since the IVF Medical Directors undertook a commitment to the Assisted Human Reproduction Agency to reduce the multiple pregnancy rate in Canada from 32% in 2009. We are proud to state that in 2016 the multiple pregnancy rate in Canada was 9.7%, the lowest ever achieved with IVF treatment in Canada, while still maintaining a high clinical pregnancy rate,” said Dr Albert Yuzpe, Chair of the IVF Medical Directors Group and Past President of CFAS.

Dr Min, current President of the CFAS said that “great strides have been made in tracking outcomes, which allows us to improve the quality of care provided to our patients. The CFAS will continue to engage with all stakeholders, including fertility professionals, patients and governments to promote safe and effective fertility care for all Canadians.”

Key messages from the 63rd annual meeting of the CFAS

IVF Treatments and Outcomes 2016

  • There were 15,344 cycles of IVF initiated, 55% of which were initiated in Ontario, 14% in Quebec, and 31% in rest of Canada
  • There were 2,801 donor egg cycles (754 using fresh donor eggs and 2,047 using frozen eggs or embryos)
  • There were 7,170 ongoing clinical pregnancies resulting ART (all ART cycles), 697 of which were multiple pregnancies

IVF Related Birth Outcomes 2015

  • 6,379 babies were born from IVF treatment in 2015
  • There were 5,658 singleton deliveries and 1,358 twin births
  • The live birth rate per embryo transfer
    • for women under 35 years of age – 40.6%;
    • for women 35-39 years of age – 32.8%
    • for women 40 years and older – 19.1%

In 2015, the number of IVF cycles recorded was 16,635. The number of IVF cycles performed in Canada dropped in 2016 due to regional variations in funding. Quebec eliminated funding for IVF in late 2015 while Ontario introduced funding for a single IVF cycle. At the same time, the number of frozen embryo transfers, increased from 9,526 cycles in 2015 to 12,071 FET cycles in 2016. The increase in the number of frozen embryo transfer cycles can be attributed to a shift in clinical treatment strategies, including greater emphasis on single embryo transfer and chromosomal screening of embryos which requires freezing tested embryos until the results are available followed, generally, by replacement of a single, chromosomally normal embryo in a subsequent menstrual cycle.

The type of assisted reproductive technology (ART) services accessed by Canadians is changing. More patients are seeking genetic screening than ever before with 4,475 cycles reported in 2016, an almost two-fold increase over 2015 (2,355 cycles).

In addition, more Canadian women of reproductive age diagnosed with cancer are accessing fertility preservation services and are choosing to freeze their eggs or embryos in hopes having a child after surviving cancer. In 2016, 378 women sought to freeze their eggs for medical reasons, an increase from 190 in 2015. The Society is pleased to see this trend but acknowledged that there are still significant financial barriers and many women are still unaware of their options.

There has also been a modest increase in the number of Canadian women freezing eggs for non-medical reasons (social egg freezing): 132 (2013), 174 (2014), 280 (2015), and 325 (2016). These numbers are expected to increase significantly as more and more women become aware of this option and as accessibility to services and costs become more attractive.

The use of egg donors continues to grow in Canada. However, where fresh donated eggs are used, the number of cycles has increased only moderately from 722 cycles in 2015 to 754 cycles in 2016. Restrictive laws that prohibit compensation for donors is certainly inhibiting this practice in Canada. In contrast, the number of cycles involving frozen donated eggs increased by 25% to 2,047 cycles in 2016 from 1,646 in 2015.

The use of gestational carriers increased from 533 cycles in 2015 to 639 cycles in 2016. As with egg donation, restrictive laws prohibit compensation for gestational carriers. Many women who require a gestational carrier have difficulty locating a Canadian surrogate for this reason. It is our hope that Health Canada will reassess the status of compensation for egg donation and gestational surrogacy in its current deliberations regarding this matter.


 

 

 
 
Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS) Welcomes Government of Canada intent to introduce regulations to support the Assisted Human Reproduction Act (October 2016)

PRESS RELEASE
October 4, 2016

The Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS) welcomes the announcement from the Government of Canada to strengthen and clarify the regulatory framework of the laws that govern the practice of reproductive medicine in Canada, the Assisted Human Reproduction Act (2004) and Processing and Distribution of Semen for Assisted Conception Regulations (1996). Practitioners and patients alike seek clarification and simplification of these laws, in particular with respect to the screening and testing for the third party reproductive technologies like sperm and egg donation, and gestational surrogacy. For the benefit of all Canadians, regulation resulting from these laws needs to keep pace with the ever-changing landscape of this high-tech and rapidly evolving field of medicine.

Dr. Jeff Roberts, President of the CFAS, states, “The practice of IVF in Canada is much safer today for both mother and child. With advances in technologies for the screening of embryos and the higher pregnancy rates using newer freezing methods we have less apprehension about banking embryos and transferring single embryos back to the uterus, irrespective of the woman’s age. Pregnancy rates in Canada have been steadily improving year after year, and multiple pregnancy rates have never been lower, dropping over the past decade from 29.5% to 10.1%. The continued provision of safe and effective reproductive technologies to Canadians will require a team approach involving the fertility clinics, scientists, paramedical professionals and government, both provincial and federal. These are truly exciting times.”

We echo the sentiments of our Minister of Health Jane Philpott, who said “There have been major scientific advancements in these areas, which have benefited many Canadians as they build their families. Our laws need to adapt so that they can continue to ensure that the risks posed are minimized and families are supported”. The CFAS is prepared to act as an experienced and knowledgeable resource for Health Canada and assist in the development of regulation.

About the CFAS

The CFAS is a multidisciplinary national non-profit society that serves as the voice of reproductive specialists, scientists, and allied health professionals working in the field of assisted reproduction in Canada. The mission of the CFAS is to responsibly advance reproductive science and medicine in Canada through leadership, research, education, and guidance for both professionals and patients alike. The CFAS aims to promote excellence in the field of assisted reproduction to the benefit of Canadians and children born of this technology.

For interviews, contact:

Mark Evans, Executive Director, Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society
Cell: 613 869-4396
e-mail: 

Notice of Intent – Canada Gazette

 
Assisted Reproductive Technology in the Era of Personalized Medicine: The Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society announces release of key studies at its annual meeting in Toronto (September 2016)

PRESS RELEASE
September 22, 2016

Some of the leading reproductive physicians and scientists in the world will talk about some of the latest advances in assisted reproductive technology in Toronto this weekend, at the 62nd Annual Meeting of the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society. The theme for the meeting of 600 attendees from across the country, “ART in the Era of Personalized Medicine” examines what personalized care means in the context of assisted reproduction and touches on an array of topics as diverse as ethics, genetics, patient access, counselling, and scientific innovations.

Several studies will be presented at the annual meeting that stand out in terms of public interest.

  1. A study conducted in Ontario evaluated how clinics prioritized patients in light of IVF funding that was announced by the Ontario government in late 2015. The study found that “there was wide variation in how clinics are choosing to distribute limited numbers of funded IVF cycles.” The study also concluded that it is important for patients to understand how decisions are made regarding the prioritization. The CFAS sees an opportunity to improve patient experience by working more closely with provincial authorities and clinicians to guide best practices.
  2. A national study conducted by the Fertility Preservation Special Interest Group of the CFAS and the Cancer Knowledge Network (CKN) aims to improve access to fertility care for young men and women diagnosed with cancer by collecting national data on referral patterns. Until now, no data has been published in Canada on the uptake of fertility options when young people are faced with cancer. Results show that women with breast cancer are the biggest users of IVF for fertility preservation. Less than half of female patients seen for fertility preservation utilized IVF, while 80% of men cryopreserved sperm. The CFAS believes that information obtained from this study will improve access to fertility care for young men and women diagnosed with cancer.
  3. A new study looked at a set of genes whose activities can be measured in one IVF cycle and predict whether future IVF cycles are not likely to be successful. This has the potential to help patients understand their chances of having a subsequent successful IVF cycles and highlights the potential of improving IVF outcomes for patients.

About the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS)
The CFAS is a multidisciplinary national non-profit Society that serves as the voice of reproductive specialists, scientists, and allied health professionals working in the field of Assisted Reproduction in Canada. The mission of the CFAS is to responsibly advance reproductive science and medicine in Canada through leadership, research and guidance. Through its multidisciplinary membership, the CFAS aims to promote excellence in the field of Assisted Reproduction to the benefit of Canadians and children born of this technology.

Information about the Annual CFAS Meeting

September 22 – 24, 2016
Sheraton Hotel Toronto at 123 Queen Street, Toronto

On-Site Contact:

Mark Evans, CFAS Executive Director
613-869-4396 (cell) or

 
The Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society confronts the ethical and clinical challenges of deciding how to allocate IVF funding to Ontario patients (June 2016)

PRESS RELEASE
June 28, 2016

The Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society will hold a four-hour professional development afternoon workshop entitled Gatekeepers’ Dilemma for its members on Wednesday, June 29, 2016 at Hart House in Toronto, Ontario, to help professionals wade through the ethics of allocating funded in vitro fertilization in Ontario today.

The media are invited to arrange interviews with key participants as a means of further understanding why such a conference is needed: to examine the process and ethics behind IVF and the challenges professionals and governments face. Among them are ethical considerations in IVF funding and how to make decisions within those parameters. We will also present the results of our survey of how individual clinics manage their wait lists and make their decisions on care and treatment. To arrange the interviews, contact Mark Evans, executive director of CFAS, on site or at 514 524-9009 (telephone) or 613-869-4396 (cell).

Here is an overview of the issues for discussion and their context:

Ethical considerations in IVF funding allocation in Ontario

Ontario now has a publicly funded scheme for in vitro fertilization (IVF). Many ethical questions related to prioritization and access for funded IVF in Ontario remain open. This conference explores the ethical strengths and weaknesses of various models for publicly-funded IVF access. The primary goal of this conference is not to identify a single IVF funding model, but rather to explore the ethical challenges related to this new area of practice.

Priority setting exercise with IVF scenarios

Case-based scenarios in working groups to help professionals learn first-hand how to apply various IVF funding distribution models in practice, identify the various strengths and pitfalls of different IVF funding models and be aware of the diverse range of opinions these different IVF funding models evoke in people.

Prioritization of Patients for IVF Funding in Ontario – Current Practices of Fertility Clinics

The Ontario Fertility Program (OFP) has provided 5,000 cycles of funded IVF per year in Ontario to women under the age of 43. Unfortunately, this current supply of IVF cycles is inadequate to meet the demands of the population. The OFP has left it up to individual fertility clinics to manage their own wait lists and to create their own criteria for distributing funded IVF cycles. We conducted a survey to determine how clinics have chosen to prioritize patients for funding and to determine who was involved in the creation of these policies. We will present our findings that show that there is wide variation in individual clinic’s policies. As a result of this variation among clinics, patients may experience differential access to care depending on their own characteristics and upon the policies of the clinic that they are attending.

The session will conclude with an hour-long panel discussion from 4 to 5 p.m. on ethical issues.

Who: The Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society, which with more than 700 members is the premier professional organization that speaks on behalf of all interested parties in the field of assisted reproductive technologies and research in reproductive sciences.

What: A four-hour workshop on ethical issues surrounding IVF entitled Gatekeepers’ Dilemma

When: Wednesday, June, 29, 2016 from 1 to 5 p.m. While the workshops themselves are closed to media because of the sensitive nature of the ethical discussions and patient privacy, the subjects and participants are welcome interview subjects.

Where: Hart House, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario

About the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS)

The CFAS is a multidisciplinary national non-profit Society that serves as the voice of reproductive specialists, scientists, and allied health professionals working in the field of Assisted Reproduction in Canada. Celebrating its 62nd year in existence, the mission of the CFAS is to responsibly advance reproductive science and medicine in Canada through leadership, research and guidance. Through its 700 multidisciplinary membership, the CFAS aims to promoting excellence in the field of Assisted Reproduction

Contact: CFAS Executive Director Mark Evans on site or at 514 524-9009 (telephone) or 613-869-4396 (cell) or 

 
The Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society Releases Clinical Practice Guidelines on Assisted Reproduction to the Public (June 2016)

PRESS RELEASE
June 28, 2016

The Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS) announced today that it will for the first time make all clinical practice guidelines on the practice of assisted reproduction in Canada available and accessible to the general public. This decision is consistent with our values of providing transparency and leadership in the field of Assisted Reproduction in Canada. In the past, guidelines have remained available only to members of the CFAS, who are largely physicians specializing in infertility and assisted reproduction. The CFAS will provide access to guidelines in both official languages and will further draft summaries of each guideline to make them more accessible to non-physician and non-scientist audiences.

The significance of the CFAS decision to make guidelines available to the public is that it openly sets a general standard of care for fertility patients across Canada and in so doing creates a transparent environment that fosters consistency and excellence in assisted reproductive care generated by using the best available evidence and research in a field that is rapidly evolving. The CFAS publishes guidelines using a rigorous, balanced, evidenced-based approach that involves reproductive health specialists from across the country. Scientists, Lawyers, and ethicists may also contribute to clinical guideline development. The goal in publishing these guidelines for the public is to ensure that everyone is operating on a level playing field of high standards.

Guidelines produced by the CFAS are aimed at improving outcomes and in promoting the health and safety for mothers and children engaged in fertility care. Recent publications include:

  • Guidelines for Third Party Reproduction (CFAS 2016)
  • Guidelines on Fertility Preservation in Reproductive Age Woman Facing Gonadotoxic Treatments (CFAS 2014)
  • Guidelines on Management of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (CFAS 2013)
  • Guidelines on the Number of Embryos Transferred (CFAS 2013)

New Clinical Guideline published on Third Party Reproduction:

The CFAS recently published a new guideline on Third Party Reproduction. Third Party Reproduction refers to all cases of human reproduction that involve the use of gametes (sperm, oocytes), embryos, or gestation from a third party for the purposes of reproduction by the intended parent(s). Third party reproduction is governed by federal legislation in Canada, the Assisted Human Reproduction Act (AHR Act), which was proclaimed, in part, on March 29, 2004. This Guideline is intended to help clinics comply with laws and to navigate infectious disease screening. For the public, the Guideline means greater access to knowledge about the process of third party reproduction. The Guideline is accessible on the CFAS website at https://cfas.ca/clinical-practice-guidelines/

About the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS)
The CFAS is a multidisciplinary national non-profit Society that serves as the voice of reproductive specialists, scientists, and allied health professionals working in the field of Assisted Reproduction in Canada. Celebrating its 62nd year in existence, the mission of the CFAS is to responsibly advance reproductive science and medicine in Canada through leadership, research and guidance. Through its 700 multidisciplinary membership, the CFAS aims to promoting excellence in the field of Assisted Reproduction

Contact: CFAS Executive Director Mark Evans at 514 524-9009 (telephone) or 613-869-4396 (cell).

 
Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society provides practitioners with clear guidelines for embryo transfer (June 2013)

Media release
June 10, 2013

Montreal (Quebec) – The Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS) has released guidelines on the much-debated subject of how many embryos to transfer when practicing in vitro fertilization (IVF).

The latest in the CFAS’ series of clinical practice guidelines provides guidance to Canadian IVF clinics and IVF practitioners regarding the number of embryos to transfer to minimize multiple pregnancies (including twins) while maintaining acceptable live birth rates.

“These practice guidelines provide IVF practitioners and clinics with concrete numbers by age cohort,” says CFAS President Dr. Mathias Gysler. “As a Society we encourage clinic directors to develop embryo transfer policies that will minimize multiple pregnancy rates – including the number of twins – and optimize healthy live births.”

It is well-established that IVF pregnancies of twins and higher multiples can result in more adverse maternal, fetal and neonatal outcomes.

In 2009, Assisted Human Reproduction Canada, the federal government agency set up to oversee the industry, brought key stakeholders together and developed a Canadian framework for the minimization of multiple pregnancies resulting from infertility treatments.

The group targeted a decrease in the twin pregnancy rate to 25% by 2012 and to 15% by 2015, targets recently reaffirmed by the IVF Medical Directors of the CFAS.

“We know we must reduce the numbers of embryos transferred. This document provides an unambiguous path to follow toward the destination of fewer multiple births in Canada,” said Gysler.

-30-

The Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society is Canada’s national organization of professionals dealing with reproductive medicine and science. www.cfas.ca

Media contact:
Anita Webster, Media Relations consultant

 
Professionals in fertility medicine debate ethical issues at recent Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society event (May 2013)

Media release
May 22, 2013

Toronto, Ontario – Ethics and good practice in the field of fertility medicine were discussed at a recent workshop hosted by the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society in Toronto.

Professionals with diverse backgrounds met for the all-day event which included presentations and opportunities to discuss, debate and come to a consensus on ethical issues that arise in their practice.

“The field of assisted reproduction has benefited from huge strides in science and technology in recent years,” said moderator Shawn Winsor, Co-Chair of CFAS Ethics and Law Special Interest Group. “CFAS is ideally positioned to provide the venue for this kind of conversation.”

One of the day’s presentations was by Dr. Art Leader of The University of Ottawa and the Ottawa Fertility Centre. His talk outlined the importance of individual clinics creating and maintaining their own ethics framework.

A question Dr. Leader asked those in attendance to consider is whether medical factors alone should determine a woman’s access to fertility treatment.

“We can be presented with issues that are not strictly medical in nature such as whether the woman or couple is able to provide a stable home for a child,” he said.

Julia Belluz, Science-ish blogger and reporter for The Medical Post and Maclean’s presented on the ways Web 2.0 is changing fertility medicine.

“Patients want information and a forum to share,” she said. “So clinics should get in on these web-based conversations and use this technology to improve the patient experience.”

-30-

The Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society is Canada’s national organization of professionals
dealing with reproductive medicine and science.

Media contact:
Anita Webster, Media Relations consultant

 
CFAS explores latest in science, ethics, law at annual meeting Theme: “From Health Gametes to Healthy Babies” (August 2012)

MEDIA RELEASE
August 30, 2012

Ottawa, Ont – “Should twins be an undesirable outcome in invitro fertilization?” is one of the topics being debated at the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society’s annual meeting in Ottawa next
month.

Dr Neal Mahutte of Montreal will speak in favour of this position and Dr Jon Havelock of Vancouver will take the con side. Dr Jason Min of Calgary is moderator and anticipates a lively exchange.

“As physicians we know twin pregnancies are riskier than singletons, yet many physicians are still responsible for twins being born. In this debate we want to address that elephant in the room.”

Also on the agenda, among others, Dr Jacques Donnez of Belgium will present on his work addressing fertility preservation through cryopreservation. Dr Mark Walker Scientific Director of BORN Ontario will address the value of registries in health care and Dr Mylene Yao of Stanford will discuss a model for providing personal prognostics for fertility patients.

The CFAS annual meeting provides professionals in the field of assisted human reproduction with abundant opportunities to learn, said CFAS President Marie-Claude Léveillé.

“We’re looking forward to the chance to take in information about new developments in science and medicine and hold some healthy debates,” she said.

The meetings run September 6th to 9th at the Ottawa Westin Hotel.
www.cfas.org

***

Media contact:
Anita Webster, Media Relations consultant

 
New Health Guidelines – Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (2011)

PRESS RELEASE

Country’s doctors alerted to syndrome which can occur after fertility treatments

Increasing use of in vitro fertilization and other fertility treatments mean Canadian doctors need to be aware of the symptoms if the treatments go wrong.

That is one of the points brought out in guidelines issued by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada and the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society, recently released to the country’s doctors.

“These conditions are rare, but it’s critical that GPs and emergency room doctors know about them,” said Dr Carl A. Laskin, Past President of the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS).

One of the possible problems is ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) which can occur when a woman is injected with a drug that stimulates her ovaries to produce multiple eggs, increasing her chances of conception.

“A severe case of OHSS is mercifully rare but when it does happen it can be life-threatening,” said Laskin.

The two groups of specialists want the medical profession to understand the issues, so that if they encounter a case of OHSS they are prepared, Laskin said.

Ovarian stimulation is performed as part of the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process, in which a woman who wants to conceive has some eggs removed then fertilized outside her body. Once an embryo results, it is transferred back to her uterus.

Last year Canada’s 28 fertility clinics performed 11,718 IVF cycles. Severe cases of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome happened in 2% of these cycles.

Another area of concern where OHSS can result is intrauterine insemination, the less expensive, less successful and less controlled option to IVF in which women inject themselves with similar hormones.

“OHSS is a real risk for women under 30 who have opted for intrauterine insemination as younger women have more egg follicles then older women,” Laskin said.

“We hope these guidelines will make doctors across the country more aware of the possibility of this happening and the treatment.”

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada produces national clinical guidelines for both public and medical education on important women’s health issues. www.sogc.org

The Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society is the national voice of professionals in the field of reproductive medicine and science. www.cfas.ca

– 30 –

For more information:
Anita Webster, CFAS media relations
604 732-7035

 
The First 6 Months of IVF Funding in Quebec - English (May 2011)

PRESS RELEASE
May 2011

THE SOCIÉTÉ QUÉBÉCOISE DE FERTILITÉ ET D’ANDROLOGIE (SQFA) HELD ITS FIRST CONFERENCE OF FRIDAY MAY 27, 2011

The results of the first six months of the Québec IVF programme were presented in the presence of the provincial Minister of Health Dr Yves Bolduc. There were 2403 in vitro fertilisation (IVF) cycles performed since August 5, 2010. Using a practice standard favouring elective single embryo transfer (ESET) the objective to reduce multiple pregnancies has been reached. The multiple pregnancy rate is now 5.2% with a pregnancy rate per embryo transfer above 30%. These results are more impressive than the European models that inspired this programme. The economic hypotheses in favour of financing IVF are in the process of being validated.

The QSFA is the Québec chapter of the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society, bringing together all the professionals working in the field of reproductive medicine in Québec. The QSFA is the only association that can speak for the Québec professionals working in the field of reproductive medicine in Québec.

 
Les premiers 6 mois du programme du FIV - Français (Mai 2011)

LA SOCIÉTÉ QUÉBÉCOISE DE FERTILITÉ ET D’ANDROLOGIE (SQFA) A TENU SON CONGRÈS FONDATEUR LE VENDREDI 27 MAI 2011

Les résultats des 6 premiers mois d’exercice du programme québécois de financement des techniques de reproduction assistée ont été présentés en présence du docteur Yves Bolduc, ministre provincial de la santé. Ainsi, 2403 cycles de fécondation in vitro (FIV) ont été réalisés depuis le 5 août 2010. Grace à une politique favorisant le transfert d’un embryon unique en FIV, l’objectif visant à réduire le nombre de grossesses multiples est atteint. Le taux de grossesses multiples issues de la FIV est aujourd’hui de 5,2% en maintenant un taux moyen de grossesse par transfert au dessus de 30%. Ces résultats dépassent ceux des modèles européens qui ont inspiré ce programme. Les hypothèses économiques selon lesquelles cette réduction permettrait de financer le programme sont en train d’être validées.

La SQFA est le chapitre québécois de la société Canadienne de Fertilité et d’Andrologie (SCFA) et rassemble tous les professionnels œuvrant dans le domaine de la médecine et de la biologie de la reproduction au Québec. La SQFA est la seule association apte à représenter les professionnels québécois exerçant dans le domaine de la médecine et de la biologie de la reproduction au Québec.

 
Media conference on the first 3 months of Quebec ART Program - English (December 2010)

Word from the CFAS President

December 16, 2010

A major problem in reproductive medicine has been the high frequency of multiple births particularly in those women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment. Such an occurrence presents significant risks to the health of the mother and the future neonates. The medical complications during a pregnancy to the woman carrying twins or more are better than five times that in the woman pregnant with a single fetus. The risks to the unborn child are premature birth with the attendant risks including permanent neurological damage. In addition to the medical issues, the costs to the healthcare system in caring for the neonates from a multiple birth are substantial. Therefore it is in every citizen’s best interest to minimize the risks of multiple births and promote the healthy singleton live birth.

As the national voice of all professionals involved in reproductive medicine and science, the Canadian Fertility & Andrology Society (CFAS) has advocated for all out effort to minimize the risk of multiple births in those undergoing assisted reproductive therapy such as IVF. The obvious strategy is to only transfer a single embryo into the woman at the culmination of the IVF cycle. This has been a difficult decision for those undergoing such expensive treatment since the pregnancy rate is somewhat higher when transferring two or more embryos into the woman. However, not only is the pregnancy rate higher but so is the risk of multiples. The ideal tactic to encourage elective single embryo transfer (eSET), is to cover the financial aspect of IVF through the provincial health plan. Therefore the pairing of eSET with government funding should minimize the occurrence of multiple births.

All of Canada has been watching the Quebec experience with provincial funding of IVF. As the evidence demonstrates, the “experiment” does work! The data presented today by the IVF clinic directors in the province not only supports the low risk of multiple pregnancies in those receiving a single embryo (3% multiple pregnancies), but that provincial funding of IVF is the fundamental piece of the puzzle to maximize the use of elective single embryo transfer and almost eliminate the occurrence of multiple births. Should other provinces utilize the Quebec model or a variation, we will promote a healthier population and minimize the impact of multiple births on the soaring healthcare costs.

The CFAS applauds the cooperative efforts of the reproductive medicine professionals and the provincial government of Quebec for undertaking this challenge of funding IVF. You have set the example for the rest of Canada.

Yours truly,

Carl A. Laskin MD, FRCPC
CFAS President 2010 – 2011

 
Media conference on the first 3 months of Quebec ART Program - French (December 2010)

Mot du président de la Société Canadienne de Fertilité et d’Andrologie

16 décembre 2010

Un des problèmes majeurs en médecine de la reproduction a été l’incidence élevée de grossesses multiples chez les femmes qui subissent un traitement de fécondation in vitro (FIV). Cette condition représente un risque significatif pour la santé maternelle et fœtale. Les complications médicales durant la grossesse des femmes qui portent une grossesse gémellaire sont cinq fois plus fréquentes que celles des femmes enceintes de grossesses avec fœtus unique. Le risque principal pour l’enfant à naître est la prématurité, ce qui peut entrainer des dommages neurologiques permanents. En plus de ces considérations médicales, les coûts engendrés par les bébés issus de grossesses multiples sont significatifs. Par conséquent, il y a un intérêt général à minimiser les risques de grossesses multiples et à promouvoir une grossesse avec fœtus unique et en santé.

En tant qu’organisme représentant tous les professionnels impliqués en médecine de la reproduction au Canada, la Société Canadienne de Fertilité et d’Andrologie (SCFA) appuie tous les efforts pour minimiser le risque de grossesse multiple associé à la procréation médicalement assistée comme la FIV. La solution évidente est de transférer qu’un seul embryon à chaque cycle de FIV. Cette décision est difficile pour les couples qui doivent avoir recourt à ces traitements dispendieux considérant que les taux de succès sont supérieurs si 2 embryons ou plus sont transférés. Cependant, malgré que les taux de grossesse soient supérieurs, les risques de grossesses multiples le sont aussi. La stratégie idéale pour encourager le transfert d’un embryon unique (eSET) est une prise en charge de l’aspect financier par les programmes provinciaux d’assurance santé. Ainsi, un programme de transfert d’embryon unique associé à un financement gouvernemental de la FIV devrait minimiser l’incidence des grossesses multiples.

Le Canada en entier observe l’initiative québécoise de financer la FIV. Il est maintenant évident que « l’expérience » fonctionne. Les données présentées aujourd’hui par les directeurs médicaux des cliniques québécoises de FIV non seulement supportent le risque faible de grossesse multiple si un seul embryon est transféré (3% des grossesses multiples), mais démontrent que le financement provincial de la FIV est un élément fondamental pour maximiser le transfert d’un embryon unique et que ce financement élimine presque l’occurrence des naissances multiples. Si d’autres gouvernements provinciaux utilisent le modèle québécois ou une variante, nous pourrons minimiser l’impact des grossesses multiples sur l’augmentation des coûts des soins de santé.

La SCFA applaudie l’effort des professionnels québécois de la médecine de la reproduction et le gouvernement provincial du Québec pour avoir mis en place ce programme de financement de la FIV. Vous êtes un exemple pour le reste du Canada.

Votre tout dévoué,

Carl A. Laskin MD, FRCPC
Président
Société Canadienne de Fertilité et d’Andrologie

 
Position Statement on Publicly – Funded IVF Treatment in Canada - English, French (February, 2010)

PRESS RELEASE
February 17, 2010

Position Statement on Publicly – Funded IVF Treatment in Canada

Montréal, Québec (February 17, 2010) – The Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS) supports fully the provision of publicly funded in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) treatment across Canada. Infertility has been defined by the World Health Organization as a disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse [1]. Since infertility has been defined as a disease, and its associated diagnostic and surgical management deemed “medically necessary” by provincial medical insurance plans, full infertility treatment including IVF and ICSI must also be made available as a funded service, and easily accessible to all Canadians.

Canada is one of few developed countries that do not fund all infertility treatments. In order to ensure that provincial medical insurance programs are in compliance with the Canada Health Act (Section 9 – Comprehensiveness), CFAS believes that fully-funded infertility treatment must be provided to all insured persons, as defined by the Act. In addition, funding must be adequate to ensure sustainability of services, regardless of where the services are delivered.

A randomized controlled study has shown IVF/ICSI to be an extremely effective treatment for infertility [2]. Economic studies in many jurisdictions have established the overall positive financial returns and benefits to society of fully-funded IVF. In 2009 the CFAS commissioned a pan Canadian study to analyse the costs associated with IVF treatment and its delivery within quality managed clinic environments [3]. The CFAS fully endorses this study as a primary guiding factor in the development of any publicly-funded system providing IVF treatment. That report should be used in conjunction with sound multiple pregnancy prevention initiatives, especially single embryo transfer [4], as the model to best serve the needs of subfertile Canadians.

[1] Zegers-Hochschild F, Adamson GD, de Mouzon J, Ishihara O, Mansour R, Nygren K, Sullivan E, Vanderpoel S; International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technology; World Health Organization. The International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technology (ICMART) and the World Health Organization (WHO) Revised Glossary on ART Terminology. Hum Reprod, 24: 2683-7, 2009.
[2] Hughes EG, Beecroft ML, Wilkie V, Burville L, Claman P, Tummon I, Greenblatt E, Fluker M, Thorpe K. A multicentre randomized controlled trial of expectant management versus IVF in women with Fallopian tube patency. Hum Reprod, 19: 1105-9, 2004.
[3] In-Vitro Fertilisation in Canada: Cost Structure Analysis. The Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society, 2009. www.cfas.ca/images/stories/pdf/ivf_cost_structure_analysis.pdf
La Fécondation In Vitro Au Canada: Analyse de la Structure des Coûts. La Societé Canadienne de Fertilité et d’Andrologie, 2009. www.cfas.ca/images/stories/pdf/fiv_structure_des_couts.pdf
[4] The Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society. Incidence and complications of multiple gestation in Canada: Proceedings of an expert meeting. Reprod. Biomed. Online, 14: 773-90, 2007.

Contact:

Roger Pierson, PhD
Chair – Communications
Tel: 306-966-4458

Carl A. Laskin, MD
President-Elect
Tel: 416-506-0804

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POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE

Énoncé de position sur le financement public du traitement par FIV au Canada Montréal, Québec (18 février 2010)- La Société canadienne de fertilité et d’andrologie (SCFA) appuie sans réserve le financement public du traitement par fécondation in vitro (FIV) et par injection intracystoplasmique d’un spermatozoïde (ICSI) à la grandeur du Canada. L’Organisation mondiale de la santé définit l’infertilité comme une maladie du système reproducteur empêchant un couple de concevoir un enfant après 12 mois ou plus de rapports sexuels réguliers non protégés [1]. Puisqu’on a défini l’infertilité comme une maladie et que son diagnostic et sa prise en charge chirurgicale sont jugés comme des services « médicalement nécessaires » par les régimes provinciaux d’assurance- maladie, le traitement complet de l’infertilité — FIV et IICS comprises — doit être financé par l’État et facilement accessible à tous les Canadiens.

Le Canada figure parmi les rares pays développés à ne pas financer tous les traitements en infertilité. Pour que les régimes provinciaux d’assurance-maladie obéissent au critère d’intégralité de la Loi canadienne sur la santé, article 9, la SCFA estime qu’on doit fournir un traitement de l’infertilité complètement financé à toutes les personnes assurées au sens de la Loi. De plus, le financement doit suffire à assurer la viabilité des services, quelle que soit la région où ils sont offerts.

Selon une étude sur échantillon aléatoire et contrôlé la FIV et les ICSI constituent des traitements de l’infertilité très efficaces [2]. Des études économiques menées dans de nombreux pays ont établi que, dans l’ensemble, une couverture publique complète de la FIV était avantageuse sur les plans tant financier que social. En 2009, la SCFA a commandé une étude pancanadienne visant à analyser les coûts associés au traitement par FIV et à sa prestation dans des cliniques où s’exerce un contrôle de la qualité [3]. La SCFA appuie entièrement le rapport de cette étude comme premier instrument d’orientation dans l’élaboration de tout système de prestation de traitement par FIV financé par l’État. On devrait utiliser ce rapport tout en se référant aux initiatives solides en matière de prévention des grossesses multiples — en particulier le transfert d’embryons uniques [4] — comme modèle de réponse optimale aux besoins des Canadiens hypofertiles.

[1] Zegers-Hochschild F, Adamson GD, de Mouzon J, Ishihara O, Mansour R, Nygren K, Sullivan E, Vanderpoel S; International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technology; World Health Organization. The International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technology (ICMART) and the World Health Organization (WHO) Revised Glossary on ART Terminology. Hum Reprod, 24: 2683-7, 2009.
[2] Hughes EG, Beecroft ML, Wilkie V, Burville L, Claman P, Tummon I, Greenblatt E, Fluker M, Thorpe K. A multicentre randomized controlled trial of expectant management versus IVF in women with Fallopian tube patency. Hum Reprod, 19: 1105-9, 2004.
[3] La fécondation in vitro au Canada: Analyse de la structure des coûts. La Société canadienne de fertilité et d’andrologie, 2009. www.cfas.ca/images/stories/pdf/fiv_structure_des_couts.pdf
[4] La Société canadienne de fertilité et d’andrologie. Incidence and complications of multiple gestation in Canada: Proceedings of an expert meeting. Reprod. Biomed. Online, 14: 773-90, 2007.

Personnes-ressources :

Roger Pierson, PhD
Président du Comité des Communications
Tél : 416-506-0804

Carl A. Laskin, MD
Président élu
Tél : 306-966-4458

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eSet Guidelines news release - PDF (April 2010)
Click on the hyperlink to download the eSet Guidelines news release in pdf form.