Manitoba government doubles ‘beneficial’ fertility treatment tax credit

The Manitoba government is trying to ease the financial pressures of starting a family by doubling its Fertility Treatment Tax Credit.

The initial tax credit, implemented by the previous NDP government in 2010, offered up t0 $8,000 back in taxes for $20,000 spent on treatment. Now, premier Wab Kinew said, “you’re going to be able to get $16,000 per year back, when you spend $40,000.”

Eligible expenses are also expanding to include surrogates and donors’ medical expenses, and payments to fertility clinics and donor banks, the province said.

It will continue to cover fertility clinic fees and related prescription drugs.

Dr. Gordon McTavish, medical director at Heartland Fertility Clinic, said he loves the tax credit, and is glad it’s not just “one and done.”

“A lot of the other provinces in the country are doing one lifetime funded cycle of IVF (In Vitro Fertilization). We know, that sometimes it can take more than one cycle of IVF,” he said, adding it’s great technology, but not perfect and doesn’t get people pregnant with every attempt.

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“That financial burden — if you’ve only been given that one opportunity and it doesn’t work — then it’s really very difficult to overcome some of those financial barriers.”

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McTavish said the average cost of IVF has grown nearly two-fold since the initial 2010 tax credit, now costing around $20,000 for the average cycle.

“This doubling of the tax credit is really going to be beneficial for some people that have been on the fence,” he said, adding that one in six people are infertile.

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“That’s a lot of people that are struggling with a medical condition, that can’t achieve the goal of parenthood.”

McTavish said with growing demand, even with increased staff and clinic space, Heartland has wait lists up to five months long.

Other Manitobans aren’t able to access fertility care in Manitoba and need to travel out of province.

Minister Uzoma Asagwara says these parents are not covered under the tax credit. At least right now.

“This was first implemented by a previous NDP government, and it’s our NDP government now that’s taking another step,” the minister said, adding the government is committed to “making sure that we’re always open to hearing the feedback from people who have this lived experience in terms of what additional steps maybe we can take.”

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