Canada's first IVF program
Following the birth in 1978 of the world's first test-tube baby, IVF (in vitro fertilization) programs appeared in the United States and other centres around the world. At Toronto East General Hospital, four gynaecologists whose practices included many infertile couples, became frustrated at the lack of service available to their patients in Canada. After a series of feasibility studies, Drs. Sam Batarseh, Murray Kroach, Perry Phillips and George Woo concluded that their dedication and expertise provided the opportunity for them to initiate an IVF clinic in Canada. In March, 1983, the LIFE PROGRAM was born. The group announced their first pregnancy within six months, followed by numerous others. By the end of the first year of operation, 8% of patients had become pregnant.
Pregnancy rates increased, as did the number of patients from across Canada and internationally who wanted access to the services available. New techniques were added to the program, including intrauterine inseminations, ultrasound directed IVF, gamete intra fallopian transfers (GIFT) and embryo freezing, and the criteria for acceptance into the program were broadened. Success rates continued to rise.
The LIFE PROGRAM is available to Ontario residents with blocked tubes, and treatment is funded by OHIP. Drug costs and a Program Development Fee are extra.