Technology and the Law Favor In Vitro Fertilization in Canada

Canadians who wish to start families through the reproductive process of in vitro fertilization seldom realize the advantages they enjoy with regard to technology and protection by the law. In the Commonwealth of Canada, residents can visit a local fertility clinic with the assurance that they will receive in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments that are not only legal but also progressive. Such is not the case in all nations across the Americas.


In the tiny Republic of Costa Rica, for example, IVF procedures are not vetted by the law; in other words, a lawful fertility clinic cannot be found in that Central American country at this time. Although Costa Rica is a country known for its commitment to peace and social security, it is important to remember that this is a Roman Catholic nation by virtue of its Constitution. Nonetheless, things are beginning to change, and Costa Rica will soon have appear before the Inter American Court of Human Rights to explain why IVF is still not a reality for the couples who have requested it.


Meanwhile, older women in Canada who have been waiting for advanced in vitro procedures that can allow them to conceive at an advance age may soon enjoy legal protections. In Quebec, for example, government–financed in vitro treatments are currently limited to women who are between the ages of 18 and 42; however, that rule may soon be expanded to include older women.


Another revision that is being proposed in Quebec is to abolish a standing rule that allow in vitro treatments to begin only after interested women sign a sworn statement attesting to long-term sexual activity prior to their visit to a fertility clinic. The rationale behind this statement is that the government wishes to provide in vitro services as a last resort; nonetheless, it is easy to understand how this could make many women uncomfortable.


Older women in Canada are also celebrating recent news about a major breakthrough that may increase their chances of successful in vitro conception. The eggs of older women are normally more prone to cellular abnormalities that could put the baby’s healthy development in danger. The specific issue falls on mitochondria deterioration, which is a normal aging process. Stem cell technology has been successfully applied to implant healthy mitochondria in older eggs, and healthy babies conceived by means of this method in a Toronto clinic have already been delivered.