The Quebec government is investing $16 million in the CHUM's new IVF facility, Health Minister Yves Bolduc announced Wednesday.

The Centre hospitalier de l'université de Montréal reproduction centre, the second of its kind in the province after the MUHC clinic, will begin in-vitro procedures in January.

While there are several private clinics that offer the procedure, Bolduc said in 2009 that he would enlarge the role of the public sector for IVF treatments, resulting in a 50/50 public/private rate.

About 2,000 Quebec babies have been born as a result of in-vitro fertilization since the program began.

The decision to publicly fund IVF remains a controversial issue in the province, but Bolduc said it is worth funding.

"When you don't have this program, you have children who are sicker because they are in the neonatal units, and they have complications. In the long term, for the child to be born, I think it's important to offer the best technology -- and with this technology we have less multiple pregnancies," he said.

The medicare plan only allows the transfer of one embryo per try, resulting in a drop in the rate of multiple pregnancies from 30 per cent to 5 per cent, as well as a drop in the number of premature babies with health problems.

Bolduc also said the price per IVF cycle has decreased.

The government has been paying $ 7,100 per cycle, but after an audit, has decided the fair price is $4,600 dollars per cycle, resulting in a savings for taxpayers.

CHUM plans to perform about 1,500 cycles of in-vitro fertilization per year.