The health ministry will limit public financial aid for fertility treatment to women up to 42 years old from fiscal 2016, preceded by a two-year transition period in which such aid will be curbed for older women, on grounds that its success rate diminishes with age.
Since its introduction in 2004, financial aid has been provided to couples with a combined annual income of ¥7.3 million or less for in vitro fertilization — which is not covered by public health care insurance — regardless of the woman’s age.
Each treatment costs ¥300,000 on average, of which the aid covers ¥150,000, which is reduced to ¥75,000 if frozen eggs are used. The aid is offered for a total of five years, limited to three times in the first year and up to twice a year after the second.
In July, the ministry approved a plan that would bar women aged 43 and older from benefiting from the subsidized treatment and limit aid to six treatments if started before age 40 and to three if begun at ages 40 to 42.