KO lawmakers presented the bill at a news conference in parliament on Thursday, saying it has been signed by 500,000 citizens, Polish state news agency PAP reported.
Afterwards, the draft legislation was formally submitted to the lower house for consideration, politicians told reporters.
The KO last September pledged to launch a citizens’ bill to restore free IVF treatment and to collect the 100,000 signatures required to submit the plan to parliament.
Ewa Kopacz, a member of the European Parliament with the KO and a former Polish prime minister, said on Thursday: “We have kept our word. We have collected almost 500,000 signatures.”
'An investment in the future'
She added: “Behind these signatures are people. Half a million people who have turned out to be sensitive, empathetic and open to the problems of the 3 million Poles who suffer due to infertility.”
Kopacz said the government in 2016 "made the callous decision" to abolish state funding for IVF treatment, “the only effective method to treat infertility.”
She argued that IVF treatment “is not an expenditure, but an investment in the future.”
According to Kopacz, the IVF bill “represents a test for the ruling Law and Justice party” and its fate will demonstrate whether the governing conservatives “really want to combat infertility in Poland,” the PAP news agency reported.
‘Local authorities are free to fund IVF’: gov’t spokesman
Meanwhile, government spokesman Piotr Müller told reporters that “IVF is a medical procedure that is allowed in Poland" and that "local authorities are free to make decisions to fund IVF treatment."
Under the new bill, the health ministry would allocate PLN 500 million (EUR 107 million) a year for IVF treatment, according to politicians.
After the bill’s submission to parliament, MPs have three months to hold the first reading of the proposal, the PAP news agency reported.
Infertility and IVF
According to the World Health Organisation, infertility is a global health issue affecting 15 percent of reproductive-aged couples worldwide, which means millions of people.
The figure for Poland is estimated at around 3 million, PAP reported.
Between 2013 and 2016, Poland offered free IVF treatment for all infertile couples meeting certain criteria, officials noted.
Some 9 million children have been born worldwide thanks to IVF, including at least 100,000 in Poland, according to the Civic Coalition.
Source: PAP, rynekzdrowia.pl, WHO