Friday, January 12, 2007

Fertility experts? Bah, who needs 'em - apparently not the Canadian Government

This pisses me off. In fact the whole thing when this panel was announced mere moments before the close of government's Christmas break so of course, no one could say anything in time for anything started it all. Then I read this article in the Montreal Gazette today.

It's a wonder anything progresses in this country at all. Why the hell add someone with some specific knowledge on the topic to the committee/panel/working group. Who needs it. They aren't gonna listen anyway. I wish those fucking politicians would get off their high horses and appreciate the people in country for who they are, and not try (pretend) to know it all, when they really now NOTHING about it. The article says the members of the committee will, of course consult patients and doctors and experts before making any decisions. I call bullshit. I dare them. Double dare them!!

Here is the article:

Experts seek fertility panel seat
Government refuses to alter board's makeup

CanWest News Service

Friday, January 12, 2007

The government rejected calls yesterday to add fertility patients and experts to the new federal agency charged with policing the use of reproductive technologies capable of creating human life.

The calls came from two Liberal MPs, a veteran fertility doctor, a fertility awareness advocate and a man whose wife was unable to conceive.

They held a news conference to urge the government to assign patients and others closely involved in fertility efforts to fill three vacancies on the 13-member board of the recently appointed Assisted Human Reproduction Canada agency.

Their complaint is "not who is on that board but who is not," said Danny Roth, who adopted a child with his wife after they were unable to conceive a baby.

The government has no intention of filling the three vacancies any time soon and "we feel the board's composition is adequate," countered Eric Waddell, spokesperson for federal Health Minister Tony Clement.

He added the board is free to consult patients and anyone else appropriate to the issues they will be examining.

Beverly Hanck, executive director of the Infertility Awareness Association of Canada, said it is "a matter of freedom and justice" that the thousands of Canadians who seek fertility treatment, fertility doctors and mental health professionals who specialize in the field be represented on the board.

Dr. Arthur Leader, a fertility specialist for three decades, said he doubted any members of the board had ever visited a fertility clinic.

Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett, a family doctor, urged Clement to "walk the talk of patient-centre care." Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla, a chiropractor, said the government had shown insensitivity to prospective parents who shoulder great hardship and cost to have a child.
"What is most striking about these long-awaited appointments is that there is a glaring omission of fertility experts, patients and stem-cell scientists," Dhalla said.

In a telephone interview from Toronto, Waddell said the government is satisfied that the 10 members of the board fairly represent a broad range of expertise, perspectives and opinion.

"There is nothing preventing them from consulting with patients on a regular basis, with doctors, with experts in the field," Waddell said. "It's not just a self-contained unit. They are not just going to sit in a room by themselves and make decisions."

The first board meeting of the Vancouver-based agency is in March. Waddell did not rule out expanding the board some time in the future, but it is not in the cards for now.

The board chairman is John Hamm, a family doctor and former premier of Nova Scotia, and the president is Elinor Wilson, recent chief executive officer of the Canadian Public Health Association. The eight others are drawn from academic, legal, medical and faith-based circles.

And while we're talking news (can you tell I actually read more than the comics and the Sudoku today?) I found this rather interesting. Not sure how I feel about it, being a mom of twins, I found the one year a blessing. That being said, it may not be fair for me to judge since I didn't go back to work. What do you think?

Parents of multiple births should get longer parental leave, says group
Canadian Press
Friday, January 12, 2007

VANCOUVER (CP) - A group for parents of multiple births wants Canada to change its laws so parents of twins, triplets or even higher can get longer parental leave.

Gail Moore of Multiple Births Canada says the increasing use of fertility drugs has meant more families are having more than one baby at once. Current parental leave policies only allow a year's leave and if both parents want time off, they have to split the year between them.

Moore says countries like Italy and Sweden offer parents of multiple births longer leave.

But Moore says the Conservative government won't even meet with her group to discuss the issue.

The subject came up in Vancouver this week after a woman delivered sextuplets.

P.S. Sorry for the loooooongness. I don't know how to do once of those fancy little widgets that shrinks it and asks you to click for more.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Nancy, I'm a mom of triplets and a member of Multiple Births Canada. I support their call to dialogue with the government about EI provisions for families with multiple births. I'd like to explain a little more fully what is being suggested.

To quote Cheryl Wadasinghe of MBC, "Parents of multiples face extraordinary physical, emotional and financial stress when taking care of two, three or more babies at one time. Parents of multiples are at increased risk (compared to parents of single babies) for pregnancy complications, post partum depression, loss of one or more infants, managing extended neonatal or extended health care, stress in marital relationships, and more.

"Multiple birth children themselves may face certain challenges: coping with loss of a co-multiple, living with special needs, and an increased likelihood of identifying and dealing with developmental delays.

"The multiple birth vs. singleton experience is not the same; yet the provisions under current EI policy and programming do not address these differences. Specifically, MBC would recommend:
- adding incidences of preterm and low birth weight to the current eligibility criteria for compassionate care leave, as well as extending the provisions beyond six weeks.
- for maternity and parental leave, extending the amount of leave for all incidences of multiple births, up to one year per newborn, or an extension similar to precedents set in other countries such as Sweden, where an extra six months of leave per child is in effect."

MBC began this dialogue with the Liberal government in late 2005, and continues to request discussions with the Conservative government, who so far have not responded.

You can view documents on this topic at the Multiple Births Canada website, at

See a speech by Cheryl Wadasinghe on May 28, 2005 and "Key messages" next steps for recommending changes to the Employment Insurance Program.

Gail Moore is the media spokesperson for Multiple Births Canada. She can be reached by email at if you would like more information, or want to discuss the issues.

Best wishes,

9:38 PM EST  
Blogger BeachMama said...

Ahh, Nancy. Northern Mom posted an article about the board last week. I couldn't believe it myself and did a little digging to find out that in fact it was true! I can't believe the board feels it has the expertise to make any decisions without people who are in the experience. I agree you need people from both sides, but having none that have gone through our experiences scares me.

I was sorry to miss that news conference last week and felt badly I didn't hear about it in time. I would have loved to lend my support as I don't think there is enough out there.

Let's hope for future patients of infertility that the proper decisions are made. Too bad you or I couldn't sit on the board eh?

5:32 PM EST  
Blogger twinmomplusone said...

thanks for letting me know about both of these issues!

first one:definite government bullshit

second one: I figured a year was long enough (imagine in teh Staes where they get 6 weeks)

2:08 PM EST  
Anonymous Elle said...

Hey Nancy. Just read these articles. You know, I live in Canada now, but I have my IVF and my twins were born in the States. The political crap doesn't differ too much across the borders. It's amazing how with so many couples experiencing infertility in this world; they are still largely unheard.

I whole-heartedly agree that all experiences need to be taken into account when discussing infertility issues. It's all easy said and done by the "experts" but who truly IS the expert? The people shoving us so full of drugs, we go into temporary menopause? Or the people who are going through the motions every day, getting injections, blood tests, ultrasounds... I think it's important to consider the people who live this experience.

11:33 AM EST  
Blogger Zany Mama said...

Well, you must admit it will be a lot easier for the committee to make decisions if there are no experts present.

Experts tend to bring up pesky irrelevancies like facts and real-world experiences. They just slow the process down, really.


1:40 PM EST  

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