Poland's New Right-Wing Government Pulls State Funding for IVF

by Dr. Trupti Shirole on Dec 3 2015 4:48 PM

In-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment is used by couples who are unable to conceive. It consists of fertilizing an egg outside a woman's body to produce an embryo that can then be implanted in her womb. The Catholic Church believes IVF to be an immoral practice. In Poland, the previous liberal administration had introduced state funding for IVF, despite staunch opposition from the influential Catholic Church. But, now the new right-wing government has decided to cut this state funding for IVF.
Health Minister Mikolaj Radziwill told a parliamentary commission, "The in vitro program will be kept in place until the middle of 2016. After that, it will no longer be pursued."

Government spokeswoman Elzbieta Witek told reporters that IVF treatment would nevertheless still be allowed.

The conservative Law and Justice party (PiS) that returned to power in October 2015 elections after eight years in opposition, and which is closely allied with the Catholic Church, has long vowed to end state funding for IVF treatment.

The previous centrist Civic Platform (PO) government adopted a law in June 2015 that made IVF treatment reimbursable, while at the same time introducing measures to prevent trade in embryos.

PiS had at the time pushed for a ban on IVF, proposing jail for physicians using the method.

Former prime minister Ewa Kopacz, a trained physician who was behind the push to subsidize IVF, said, "The new government's plan to pull the plug on the funding program was 'harmful'. It affects close to a million couples in Poland who don't have the financial means to pay for this expensive treatment out of pocket."