Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Ceisteanna (264, 473)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

264. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health the way in which the public IVF scheme operates; the way in which it is regulated; the criteria for accessing the scheme; his plans in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11494/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Niall Collins

Ceist:

473. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health when the funding set aside for IVF will be available to couples; the criteria to avail of same; the way in which couples register their interest; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12419/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 264 and 473 together.

In October 2017, the Government approved the drafting of a Bill on assisted human reproduction (AHR) and associated areas of research, based on the published General Scheme. The process of drafting this Bill will be completed in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General. In addition, the Joint Committee on Health is currently conducting a review of the General Scheme of the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill 2017 as part of the pre-legislative scrutiny process, which began in January of last year. The review is ongoing and the Joint Committee intends to report thereon before the summer recess. However, it is not possible at this time to give a definitive timeline for the completion of the draft Bill and its subsequent passage through the Houses of the Oireachtas.

Interlinked with the legislation, officials in the Department of Health in conjunction with the HSE are developing a model of care for infertility and an associated public fund for AHR. This work includes developing proposals on the allocation approved by Government for a €1 million fund for use in relation to providing public AHR treatment during 2019.

The development of a model of care for infertility will help to ensure the provision of safe, effective and accessible services through the public health system as part of the full range of services available in obstetrics and gynaecology. Once the funding proposals have been submitted and approved by the Minister for Health, there will be an announcement regarding the commencement of this fund.