By Amy SmithThe fertility industry is the world’s largest and most lucrative industry, and one that has been the target of increasing government scrutiny.
A year ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued its first comprehensive assessment of the fertility industry, calling on it to stop the exploitation of women’s health.
Now, the government is poised to introduce legislation aimed at cracking down on its biggest industry.
Fertility clinics are unregulated, unregulated, and unregulated again.
The number of births to women who receive fertility treatment abroad has doubled in just a decade.
Fertility clinics have become the biggest business in Canada and Europe, and a growing number of women are accessing services through online providers.
These clinics have been largely unregulated and unregulated, too, says Dr. Sarah Dyson, an associate professor of reproductive health at Ryerson University.
In her book, Fertility Matters, she highlights that the fertility clinic sector is dominated by a few companies and their owners.
“We see a lot of companies that are in control, but there are a lot more companies that don’t have any control,” says Dyson.
Dyson’s book, which was co-written with former Ryerson professor Dr. Peter Camm, outlines the history of fertility clinics and their relationship to health care and women’s bodies.
In the late 1970s, fertility clinics began operating in the U.S. and Europe.
Today, there are over 700 clinics in Canada.
The largest are in Toronto and Montreal.
In 2013, fertility services were included in the total cost of providing reproductive health care to Canadian women, at an average cost of $9,971.
Dysons work reveals that the number of clinics in the United States has increased significantly since the 1970s.
“When we looked at the data from the late 1960s, we didn’t see a significant increase,” she says.
“The trend was for the number to keep going up.”
But the fertility boom of the 1970-1980s was not a long-term trend.
By the early 1980s, the number was back to where it was in the mid-1980.
But the surge was more pronounced in the last decade, when the number increased more than three-fold.
Dyons research also found that many women who had fertility treatments in Canada have been turned away by fertility clinics, often because of the price.
According to the World Bank, Canada has the third highest fertility rate in the world, behind only China and the United Kingdom.
This is due to a combination of high fertility rates and the relatively high cost of fertility treatments.
The fertility boom has also resulted in a rise in the number and quality of services offered by clinics.
According to a 2014 report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, “Fertility services have become increasingly concentrated in a few firms with a financial stake in providing them.
These firms include: clinics, fertility centers, and clinics that treat patients who cannot afford to pay for reproductive services.”
According to a 2015 survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB), “more than one in three women who received fertility treatment at a fertility clinic were denied access to a private, non-emergency contraception method for use within their relationship.”
Dysson notes that the industry’s lobbying efforts have been successful.
“There’s a lot that they can do,” she said.
In 2015, the Harper government made it illegal for clinics to charge women less for treatment.
But Dyson says the legislation has been toothless.
She says that it has only been effective in deterring clinics from charging women more.
“In terms of what they’ve done to prevent the growth in the clinics, the industry has done a lot.
They’ve done a tremendous amount of work,” she adds.
In 2016, the CFIB introduced the Fertility Care Fee, which required fertility clinics to post fees on their websites to help fund fertility services.
Dyson also says that in 2017, the federal government increased funding for fertility clinics by nearly $300 million, with funding increased to $1 billion.
Dyers research also revealed that the Harper regime has not done enough to address the high cost and lack of transparency surrounding fertility clinics.
“There are lots of loopholes that can be used to make it more difficult to identify providers, and to find out what services are offered and what are the minimum fees,” Dyson said.
The government is currently reviewing legislation, including legislation introduced in the House of Commons and the Senate, to crack down on the industry.
The legislation is expected to be introduced in early 2018.
The Harper government has also come under fire for the way it has regulated fertility clinics since it was elected.
The Conservative government has repeatedly tried to regulate the sector, but failed to gain a majority in Parliament.
The new legislation, the Fertilization Industry Act, was introduced in February 2017 by the Conservative government.
It will require fertility clinics in all provinces to collect a fee