A recent NYTimes article reveals how Israel has become the world’s capital for in vitro fertilization. The Assuta Hospital in Tel Aviv performs over 7,000 procedures a year, and most of them are paid for by the government. Unlimited IVF procedures for up to two children are available for free until a woman reaches 45-years-old.
While the intention might be to assist families who could not otherwise afford it, the motive is also political. According to the article:
Israel has historically focused on promoting Jewish birthrates to retain a Jewish majority and more recently as a counterweight to higher fertility rates of Palestinians in the occupied territories. Arab citizens of Israel, however, have the same rights to state-paid fertility treatments as their Jewish counterparts.
While patients in the U.S. can pay up to $12,000 for an IVF procedure, the Health Ministry in Israel says it only spends $3,450 per treatment. The procedure is fully paid for in public hospitals, and in private hospitals patients can use insurance with a co-payment of around $150.
Israel is not only the first country to offer the procedure for free, but according to the Health Ministry’s legal representative Mira Huebner-Harel, they are the first to offer it to women regardless of marital status or sexual orientation.
“We are very sensitive here to the desire of people to have a family,” Mira Huebner-Harel told the NYTimes. “I think our country can be proud that a woman who wants to be a mother can try do so.”