Madrid raises age limit for women to have free IVF up to 45

Madrid will launch a new €4.5-billion fertility plan that will allow women in the region to access IVF treatment through the public health system if they’re under 45 years of age, as authorities in the Spanish capital try to encourage more women to have children.

Madrid raises age limit for women to have free IVF up to 45
Women in Madrid aged under 45 will be able to have four IVF attempts from now on. Photo: Martin BUREAU / AFP

Women in Spain become mothers at a later age than all their European counterparts, EU data shows, with the average Spanish woman having 1.34 children. 

Another study released in March 2021 found that the pandemic had made Spain’s birth rate drop further still to its lowest level in 80 years, and Spain’s National Statistics Institute estimates the country could lose five million inhabitants in the next 50 years, with immigration currently proving to be the best remedy to this population loss.   

With all these stats in mind, Madrid’s regional president Isabel Díaz Ayuso announced on Monday that she would tackle her region’s “demographic challenge” with the “greatest plan to boost the birth rate” yet, as well as measures to address the family-work balance, to be launched on January 26th. 

IVF age limit raised

With an investment of €4.5 billion over the next five years, the standout measure of the 80 to be introduced is that the age limit for women to access free in vitro fertilisation through the public healthcare system in Madrid will go from 40 to 45 years. 

The number of available attempts through public hospitals will be expanded from two to four attempts per woman. 

The legal age limit for IVF to be done privately in Spain is 50 years old.

According to the website, “Spain is the most expensive European IVF destination – due to both very high standards of treatment and the wide availability of donors. The cost of a single own egg IVF cycle ranges from €4,100 to €8,200 while an egg donation cycle may cost from €5,900 to €11,000.”

The Community of Madrid’s new IVF treatment will also now be made available to women who already have another child.  Two new IVF units will be created and Madrid’s first ovocyte egg bank will be set up. 

“Each person will be able choose the centre among the seven currently available, with a single shared waiting list,” Ayuso told journalists on Monday. Waiting times from the first checkup to the actual IVF treatment currently vary from two to four years depending on the Madrid hospital. 

According to stats published by Spain’s Health Ministry and the Spanish Fertility Society (SEF), a total of 180,906 fertility treatments were carried out in Spain in 2019, of which 37,428 babies were born.

READ ALSO: Spain restores free IVF to singles, lesbians and now trans people

Other birth rate-boosting measures

Among the 80 measures which are yet to be fully revealed is the already implemented financial aid scheme in Madrid which grants €500 per month per baby to mothers under 30 with yearly earnings below €30,000.

In addition, there will be an extension of deductions of up to €2,100 in parents’ Personal Income Tax for the birth or adoption of a child over the first three years and a flat rate for self-employed women who return to work after motherhood.

Other measures for new mothers in the Spanish capital include making the work days more flexible, giving them tax incentives for property purchases or rent and priority access to the region’s rental VIVE Plan.

Ayuso has requested “the  involvement of the National Government, which is the one with broad powers, since many of the family and work balance measures require dialogue with the companies”.

Madrid’s regional president will request that Sánchez’s government implement a reduction of at least 50 percent of the employer’s social security quota for workers who join after parental leave and more tax incentives for bosses who give more flexibility to workers with children under the age of 12.

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Spain announces two child deaths from mysterious hepatitis outbreak

A six-year-old boy from Murcia and a 15-month-old baby in Andalusia have died of hepatitis amid 46 reported cases among children in Spain.

Spain announces two child deaths from mysterious hepatitis outbreak

The Spanish Ministry of Health has reported the first deaths due to a mysterious outbreak of acute hepatitis in children. On Thursday 4th August it was announced that both children, a 6 year boy from Murcia and a 15 month old baby in Andalusia, died after having liver transplants. 

According to the Ministry of Health, among the 46 cases detected in Spain, three transplants have had to be performed so far.The third procedure was made a 3 year old girl in Aragon, who has responded well to the surgery.

The Ministry reassured the public that of the 46 cases picked up so far, the clinical outcome has been positive in 43 of them. The strange cases, the origins of which are unknown, have been detected in children ranging from the ages of 0 up to 16, with over half (60 percent) of the cases being in girls, according to recent data from the Ministry of Health.

World trend

Cases of hepatitis among children are not isolated to Spain, however. As of late June, the World Health Organization (WHO) had identified 894 suspected cases of acute childhood hepatitis across the globe – of which 30 percent resulted in hospital treatment.

As of 30 June, 473 cases of acute hepatitis have been reported in Europe across 21 countries. The European countries with the most cases so far are: Belgium (14), Italy (35), Portugal (19), Spain (40), and the United Kingdom (268).

The majority – 77 percent – of the severest infections were among children between the ages of zero and five.

Regional breakdown 

Within Spain, Madrid has had the most cases so far, with 15. Then comes Catalonia (9); Galicia (5); Balearic Islands (4); Castilla-La Mancha and Murcia (both with 3 cases); Castilla y León and Andalusia (2, not counting the child who died) and Aragon and the Canary Islands have both had 1 case each.

The first reported cases began in early January, and like the broader European trend, the average age of the cases in Spain is very young – 5.3 years on average, with median age of 4 years old – and the majority (64.4 percent) of cases have been among young girls. 

What is hepatitis?

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that can prevent it from functioning properly. It can be both acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term).

As of early August, neither the WHO, European medical agencies, nor the Spanish Ministry of Health have been able to conclusively say what is behind the spike in cases among children. 

What are the symptoms?

Severe acute hepatitis can cause jaundice, which is the yellowing of the skin, stomach pains, and vomiting. 

Dark urine, light-coloured stools, or itchy skin may also appear as symptoms.