Poland: Government to stop funding IVF

Konstanty Radziwiłł, the Health Minister of Poland, said that the state funding programme for in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) will only last until June 2016, and will not be prolonged. Couples wishing to have IVF treatment will therefore have to pay it out of their own pockets. This is likely to significantly reduce the market for the ethically controversial treatment.

The new Minister thus overturns a decision of the previous liberal Civic Platform (PO) government according which in-vitro fertilisation funding was to be extended until December 2019.

The Minister also indicated that “the in-vitro procedure is not the only one possible, when it comes to infertility treatment.”

At the same time, Radziwiłł noted that the procedure “is legal, the legislation [on in vitro fertilisation] is in effect. We are discussing the hundreds of millions of Polish złoty which is derived from the national budget, which we cannot afford to spend,” the minister said.

Radziwiłł added that new legislation on  assisted procreation will soon be tabled by the health ministry.

Critics of assisted procreation point out that it severely violates human dignity, as it usually involves the creation of many  embryos in vitro, of which only one is selected while the others are destroyed. In addition, there are increasing concerns that children created in vitro have a considerably higher health risks than children conceived in utero.