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Health Ministry and Infertility Funding

Health Ministry and Infertility FundingHealth Ministry and Infertility Funding

“Infertile couples” has been one of Health Minister Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi’s oft used phrases in his recent speeches. In December, during a visit to Sanandaj, he announced that there are “three million infertile couples” in the country and not enough funds to cover their treatment. Earlier, in Bojnord, the official had stated that infertility treatment is one of the main priorities of the ministry.  

According to Tejarat-e Farda, “incessantly reiterating the issue of infertility seems to be the minister’s tactic to win the favor of lawmakers and government officials to acquire a bigger budget for the treatment of infertility.”The minister had said to establish the fund a minimum capital of $50 million is required.

Some officials have maintained that of the $200 million dedicated to the policies of population growth, “a portion will be set aside for offering free health services to couples unable to conceive and a special service package has been devised.”

Aside from the funds needed and devising health services to reduce the number of infertile couples, the question remains whether the government has any plans for reducing the determinant factors causing infertility among couples.

 Prevention

During the course of their studies, policy makers and the health ministry experts are sure to have identified external risk factors which breed infertility, such as increased levels of air pollution and lead poisoning. The question now is whether controlling and reducing external risk factors is also on the agenda and whether preventing infertility is as important an issue as is curing it.

Despite all the ballyhoo surrounding the matter, what oddly stands out is that rather than the data published by a single research center, no official statistics are available on infertility rates. Based on the research carried out at Avicenna Research Institute (ARI), their latest findings indicate that 20.2 percent of Iranian couples are unable to conceive.    

According to ARI president, Mohammad Mehdi Akhondi, the findings indicate that infertility rates among couples living in urban areas is as high as 19.9% and the same indicator in rural areas has been reported as 22%. In other words, one out of every five Iranian couples is infertile.

 High Costs     

The treatment’s outrageous costs have only added to the burden of infertile couples. What’s more, with insufficient fertility clinics, couples are forced to commute long distances from their hometowns to receive treatment: only adding to their expenses.

With the minimum cost for a full-term treatment at nearly $3,500, several couples cannot afford the treatment, which in fact is only 15 percent effective. The government must partly fund the treatment or introduce insurance schemes which cover infertility treatment, ICANA reported.    

The only centers treating infertility at reasonable prices are state governed; however the waiting period at these centers at times extends over a year. Correct policy making is of utmost importance. The rates for infertility treatment need to be clarified and legal tariffs defined.    

 

Financialtribune.com