The A.R.T. of the Waiting Game: Navigating Assisted Reproduction in Ontario, Canada

Denise Philpott, Laura Halleran, Sonia Tagari and Windemere Jarvis

Fertility
Reproduction
Technology
Feminism
Women
IVF
Ontario
Policy
Systems
Socio-technical
Socio-cultural
Gigamap
Patient experience
Funding

In Ontario, Canada, one in six couples are impacted by infertility at some point in their lives. Additionally, Statistics Canada reports the average age of first-time mothers in Canada has increased to 30 years old, to-date the oldest recorded. In this harsh reality lies the fact that women are having children outside their ideal reproductive window. Coupled with the prevalence of reproductive disability and disease, this reality has created a need for assisted reproductive technologies. Ontario’s Fertility Program was established to regulate these technologies and provide them as a service for Canadian women. Unfortunately, a current gap in the program is the lack of a unified resource that empowers women with the information necessary to address their reproductive health and navigate this system. Online ethnographic investigation of infertility support forums and a thorough literature review of peer reviewed and white papers formed the research basis of the argument for a unified tool.

This gigamap and report theorizes a response to this unmet need by serving as a tool to assist women in their navigation of a complex socio-technical system, while also showcasing ways in which policy is hindering optimal access. Through a combination of systemigrams, causal loops, and patient journey maps, this gigamap provides a holistic understanding of what is required to complete a publically funded round of IVF in Ontario. Furthermore, it also highlighting gaps in policy and points for potential legislative intervention. Taking a woman-centered view of population health by centralizing the reproductive journey and using accessible, personalized language, this gigamap considers how cultural expectations for women and fiscal and personal resources influence the use of assisted reproductive technology. This is an ongoing project that continually incorporates user feedback to best address the needs of the women it serves.

Posted: Oct-2017

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