The Cabinet has agreed to bring forward legislation to fund fertility treatment for anyone who needs it.
The Assisted Human Reproduction Bill will introduce financial aid for couples struggling to afford treatments like IVF.
The Health Minister has pledged to have the legislation drafted and ready to go before an Oireachtas Committee by the end of the year.
The plan could then come into force in 2018.
Ireland is one of just three EU countries that does not offer the treatment on the public health system.
This afternoon, weather forecaster Joanna Donnelly – the founder of fertility charity Pomegranate – warned that IVF can cost up to €5,000 per cycle:
“I do know that a lot of people cripple themselves financially trying to get access to it,” she said.
“They sell their car, re-mortgage their house, borrow from family and friends – forego the normal life luxuries that we all take for granted, like going to the cinema.”
She said that most countries offer up to three cycles for free:
The bill aims to regulate the sector will also outline the conditions under which surrogacy will be allowed.
The cabinet has also agreed to extend Maternity leave and benefit for mums who give birth prematurely.
That new measure takes effect from October 1st.