Israeli Health Ministry considers cutting fertility treatment subsidies for older women

by Dan Even ,  haaretz | 2012-06-13

The Health Ministry is considering subsidizing fertility treatments through the third child and canceling subsidies for older women who face problems becoming pregnant.

Medical plans provides by HMOs in Israel subsidize in-vitro fertilization procedures up to the age of 45, and through the second child; this support does not set a limit to the rounds of treatment, and its scope exceeds that of Western countries, which limit the number of rounds of fertilization treatment subsidized by public funds. The new initiative would institute a change in the current formula of support, increasing subsidies for another, third child but limiting funds to women over 43 trying repeatedly to get pregnant for the first time.

The basis for the possible change is a review undertaken by the Health Ministry pointing to the decreasing possibilities of pregnancy via fertility treatments as a woman's age increases. Up to age 35, the chances of becoming pregnant via in-vitro procedures are roughly 40% on each attempt; for the next seven years, the probability drops to 25%; at the age of 43, the prospects range from 5%-10%; whereas chances after that age are negligible, less than 1% on each attempt.

Nonetheless, Israeli policies allow for public funding for fertility treatments up to the age of 45. Estimates hold that a pregnancy secured in fertility treatment for women aged 44-45 costs the state millions of shekels, once dozens of rounds of unsuccessful treatment are