Canadians: how to get money back for your fertility medical expenses

Updated: January 2024.

Calling Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are fertility warriors that have paid thousands of dollars in medical expenses.

It’s that time of year to file your taxes. It can be an annoying to-do that you put off or it can be a welcome distraction while you’re waiting on your fertility journey, but even more than that it could be giving you a little extra cash at the end and with inflation and high fertility costs, this can be life changing for some people.

Unfortunately not everyone will qualify.

Basically, the medical expenses have to be paid out of pocket and what this tax credit does is reduce what you’d be owing. That’s what it is in a nutshell.

I’ve submitted fertility medication and my fertility treatments including in-vitro fertilization IVF and frozen embryo storage and embryo transfer. Every bit helps offset the fact that we had no insurance coverage for any medication or procedure. We did work with an accountant and I’m glad we did.

Chances are you’ll get something if you’ve spent money out of pocket on your fertility treatment and meet the criteria. It’s not usually a huge percentage back and it depends on your personal income, and on how much you’ve paid throughout the year that you’re claiming, among other factors that an accountant would need to help with, but it’s usually worth it to file if you qualify. It’s a non-refundable tax credit, meaning that as the taxpayer (you or your spouse or common-law partner), have to have taxes owing in order to benefit from the credit. Obviously, you need to be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. You’d claim the expenses minus 3% your net income or $2,635 – whichever is less than the two. This amount ($2,635) changes every year but this is the amount right now in this 2024 tax season. This all means that your claim must exceed 3% of your net income for you to get anything, ie. you can’t get a tax balance above zero.

The maximum amount you can claim differs by province and territory.

Because this is a medical expense tax credit, it can’t be reimbursed by an employer or covered by a health plan.

It’s usually claimable if you spent it outside of Canada too.

If you’re just starting out: keep all of your receipts. Audits happen by the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) quite often for these kinds of things so keep the receipts somewhere safe including scanning the hard copies and asking for a print-out from your clinic. Coverage may include:

Photo by Liza Summer
  • Those for tests that weren’t publicly covered.
  • Prescription medication not covered by your employee benefits e.g. if your plan covered 60% then you can still claim the remaining 40%. You’ll probably want your DIN# on your receipts.
  • Egg and/or sperm and/or embryo (frozen) storage.
  • Purchasing egg and/or sperm from a bank.
  • Fertility treatment such as intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), including embryo transfers, and/or egg freezing. Ask for a print-off of your appointments with your fertility clinics. It’s often including travelling outside of Canada for this treatment too.
  • If you are or have done fertility treatment and travelled 40km or further, and there aren’t other options closer, then hang on to receipts from expenses such as gas/fuel/taxis/bus, meals, accommodation, and other travel expenses. Here’s more information.
  • Fertility related practitioners such as naturopaths, chiropractors or acupuncturists. Check for your province. Unfortunately they don’t include coaches yet (sigh).
  • You can claim it for your gestational surrogate, donor sperm and/or donor egg as of 2022. This is new this year. It’s usually the same coverage that would be covered if it was the Intended Parent who was the one going through the fertility treatment.

‘…certain expenses paid in respect of a surrogate mother or a donor (for example, a donor or sperm, ova [eggs], or embryos) may be eligible as of 2022 if they are incurred in Canada and are of a type that would be otherwise permitted as medical expenses of the individual.’

CRA, 2023

The best advice I can give is to discuss all of this with an accountant because the above are dependent on many factors. This is all just to give you a taste for what you might expect.

Usually it’s better to claim for the lower tax earner, but not always. It’s usually advisable to claim both spouses (if applicable) on one tax return.

If both spouses have taxable income, it is usually better to claim the medical expenses on the return with the lower net income [line 23600]. This is because the lesser of [$2,635] (federal for 2021, $2,479 for 2022 [$2,635 for 2023]– see the tables of non-refundable tax credits for provincial/territorial amounts) or 3% of net income is deducted from the medical expenses to determine the amount to be used for the tax credit.  If the expenses are split, this deduction is applied 2 times – once for the claim of each spouse. Tax Tip: If the lower income spouse does not have enough tax payable to offset the medical expense tax credit, it may be beneficial to move some or all of the expenses to the higher income spouse.

If you’re doing taxes using Turbo Tax or something similar then follow the guidelines. It’s usually Line 33099 and 33199.

It can be claimed for any 12 month period, it doesn’t have to be the calendar year January to December. And you can’t duplicate from one year to the next (which makes logical sense!).

The reimbursement formula does vary by province and territory.

This Taxtips article outlines how the medical expense tax credit works and here.

If you’re self employed, there are more options like if you are a business owner there’s an option to potentially set up a health services plan.

If I haven’t convinced you yet, please speak to your accountant. They can personalize it to your needs.

I hope you get oodles of money back for your precious fertility journey, to lighten the mental load, even just a little bit.

Photo by Kristina Paukshtite


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