• Frances Fitzgerald

Press Statement: Ireland failing in new landmark report from Fertility Europe

Updated: Mar 8

Press Statement from Frances Fitzgerald MEP


Friday 10th December 2021


Fitzgerald calls on Minister Donnelly to implement Programme for Government commitment on state funding for IVF treatment


Ireland failing in new landmark report from Fertility Europe


Speaking at the launch of the “European Atlas of Fertility Treatment Policies” on International Human Rights Day (Friday) MEP for Dublin Frances Fitzgerald, expressed serious concern at Ireland’s record in tackling infertility issues for couples and individuals. In a newly launched Atlas published by Fertility Europe, Ireland comes an abysmal 40th place out of 43 European countries examined, coming behind Belarus, Ukraine and Turkey.


According to data from the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), 25 million Europeans are affected by infertility. Worldwide, one in six couples experience infertility. ESHRE also notes that there is a continuous increase in reported treatments and in Medically Assisted Reproduction derived livebirths in Europe. Reasons for difficulty in conceiving include age, pre-existing conditions, environmental and health factors amongst others.


Speaking online in Dublin today, MEP Fitzgerald commented, “Despite Ireland making some progress on reproductive health issues in recent years, our placement of 40th out of 43 among European countries examined in this landmark Fertility Atlas is very worrying but reflective of the current situation for Irish people. Across Europe governments are funding IVF treatment, supporting couples and families to deal with infertility”.


“The single biggest issue in this regard is state funding for IVF treatment. The vast majority of EU countries fund a number of IVF sessions, whereas Ireland currently funds none. The European Parliament as early as 2008 called on the Member States to “ensure the right of couples to universal access to fertility treatment”[1].


“While the Programme for Government commits to introducing a publicly funded model of care for fertility treatment, we are yet to see a timeline on this. Minister Stephen Donnelly discussed this in the Seanad in February but simply said that action has been delayed due to COVID. This is not good enough: Irish couples and families need access to such services and treatments without delay.”


“I call on Minister Donnelly to bring forward an outline of the scheme urgently and to implement public funding of IVF treatment without delay.”


ENDS





Notes to the Editor

Contact:

Una Clarke: +353 816 7678

una.clarke@europarl.europa.eu



Background information:

The European Fertility Atlas is a joint project of Fertility Europe and the European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights. It comprises an online interactive map that scores European countries in access to fertility treatments. The Atlas represents the first deep-dive benchmarking tool analysing fertility treatments policies in Europe. It is being launched on Friday, 10th of December at 12:00 GMT, marking International Human Rights Day.


Ireland currently ranks at 40th of 43 countries listed, with an overall score of 27%. The criteria measured are as follows:


· Legislation

o Existence of an Assisted Reproductive Treatments (ART) law

o National registry of ART activity

o Donor register

o Artificial Insemination by Donor (heterosexual couples)

o Artificial Insemination by Donor (female couples)

o Artificial Insemination by Donor (single women)

· Access to InVitro Fertilisation (IVF) / IntraCytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

o Heterosexual couples with own gametes

o Hetrosexual couples with sperm donation

o Female couples with sperm donation

o Single women with sperm donation

o Heterosexual couples with egg donation

o Female couples with egg donation

o Male couples with egg donation

o Single women with egg donation

· Pre-implantation genetic testing for monogenic disease and structural arrangements (PGT-M/SR) available

· Gamete and embryo donation

o Strictly anonymous donation

o Non-anonymous donation / identity revealed to children

o Mixed anonymous and non-anonymous donation

· Public funding / reimbursement

o Intrauterine insemination (IUI) - up to 6 funded

o IVF/ICSI - up to 6 funded

o Is funding even across the country?

· Patients perspective

o Do infertility patients associations get consulted on public policies?

o Psycho-social support for patients - is psychological support offered as part of medically assisted reproduction treatment?

o Psycho-social support for patients - is it part of the treatment?

o Psycho-social support for patients - is it regulated?

· Are there state organised / sponsored fertility education programmes?

[1] https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-6-2008-0066_EN.html

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