You should see this place. It was designed by architects who really took off with the theme of fertility and wombs and so on. I only took a few pictures – I wish I’d taken more, but for some reason I felt like I was intruding on something private.
There are three floors to the clinic. The ground floor is for women who are trying to get pregnant. On the wall is a mosaic of photographs of babies who were conceived at the clinic. The second floor is for women who have succeeded in becoming pregnant and whose fetuses are being shepherded through the treacherous nine months to safe delivery. The third floor is the administration offices.The clinic has seventy employees and tons of state-of-the-art equipment, including 3D and 4D ultrasound machines, genetic testing equipment, and a bioarchive for storing umbilical cord blood (stem cells). The bioarchive, instead of being hidden away in a lab, is featured prominently in the design of the facility. (They won a 2009 Best of Canada Institutional Design Award for this.)
There are also cryogenic freezers, an embryology lab, a genetics lab, a stem cell lab and a biochemistry lab. We didn’t get to see all of the labs because they have a million-dollar air quality system, and they’re very particular about who can go in there.I liked this ultrasound room, which was designed to simulate a womb. But the most interesting rooms were the Salles d’Homme. The Men’s Rooms. There’s a big masculine brown leather chair in the centre of each cozy, well-appointed room. A TV. Discreetly tucked into an elegant dark wood cabinet are a selection of men’s magazines and DVDs. On the wall is a small tasteful dark wooden door to a built-in compartment with a lock. Inside the compartment is a silver cup. The silver cup is the receptacle for the sperm sample. Once the man has completed his mission, he places the silver cup and its precious contents in the compartment and locks it. A nurse then retrieves it from the other side of the wall. It’s all very dignified. (Practically reverent, even.)
I always took my fertility for granted – in fact, there were times I cursed it. All those periods, all that birth control. But while fertility might be a nuisance, infertility would be a far greater burden. Some people go to great lengths – medically, emotionally and financially – to have a baby.
Currently Quebec offers tax credits of 50% of the cost of fertility treatments. It’s the only province to do so. Quebec is even considering paying the full freight for up to three rounds of in vitro treatments ($30,000) per family. They expect the number of couples seeking treatment will increase from 2,500 to 10,000 per year if it’s publicly funded. The Ovo Clinic – one of four fertility clinics in Montreal – currently has a waiting list of 300 couples. More clinics would need to be constructed if Quebec does decide to go that route.
10,000 couples times $30,000 = 300 million dollars. That’s a lot of money. (You could host one day of a G20 meeting for that kind of money.)
What do you think? Should the cost of infertility treatments be at least partially covered by the public health care system?