The Government announces plan to pay for couples seeking IVF
As it stands, it is estimated that one in six Irish couples struggle with their fertility, and more and more are facing having to seek medical help with starting a family.
However, up until now, there is been no public system to allow for IVF treatment – which can be a very costly procedure.
But this is set to change soon, as Minister for Health, Simon Harris, is to bring a memo to Cabinet this morning outlining proposed regulatory measures for the area of assisted human reproduction.
According to the Irish Times, it is understood Mr Harris will commit to outlawing commercial surrogacy and the payment for egg, sperm or embryo donors.
The memo will provide for an ethical framework with clear rules for the welfare of the child, woman and informed consent.
This is what a spokeswoman for the Minister had to say: “At present, in Ireland there is little regulation in this area of Assisted Human Reproduction (IVF etc). It is a complex and expensive area and Ireland remains one of the only countries in Europe that has not introduced legislation."
On today's memo, the spokeswoman stated:
“Minister Harris will ask cabinet on Tuesday to approve the drafting of a bill to enable people in need of AHR to access these services and to protect people who do access these services.”
It is also understood that The Minister will commit to detailing a policy direction for State funding for fertility treatment for couples who cannot afford treatment by the end of the year. Who will be entitled to financial assistance is not yet known, but Harris is keen to stress the scheme will not just be limited to persons with a medical card.