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According to the Department, this will inform policy on an optimal mechanism for any future public funding of assisted human reproduction in the State.
Earlier today, Minister for Health Leo Varadkar announced his intention to provide public funding for assisted human reproductive treatment in conjunction with the planned introduction of legislation in this area.
Minister Varadkar said it was important to consider how best to provide public funding for fertility treatment in tandem with “closing the current legislative gap in this area of healthcare”.
He said fertility treatments should be funded in such a way “that not only maximises efficiency but which ensures equity of access as well”.
The provision of public funding for assisted human reproduction must be accompanied by “a robust system of legal governance” which will protect the health and wellbeing of patients and children born as a result of treatment, he added.
In February 2015, the Government gave approval to draft a General Scheme of legislative provisions relating to assisted human reproduction. Drafting is underway and the General Scheme will be published in the first half of 2016.
While fertility treatment is not provided in the Irish public health service, financial support is available to individuals. For example, tax relief for medical expenses and the cost of certain approved fertility medicines are covered under the Medical Card or Drugs Payment Scheme.
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