Quebec women over 40 and hoping to become pregnant may soon be racing against both their biological clock and a clock set by the provincial government.

The province is moving to make it illegal for women over the age of 42 to undergo IVF, or in vitro fertilization.

Under Bill 20, women over 42 would not allowed to undergo IVF -- even if she uses her own eggs that she had frozen when she was younger, or even if she uses eggs donated by someone younger.

The move comes just weeks after the province announced it would drastically scale back its publicly-funded assisted-reproduction services. Under the new rules, only those left infertile by a medical treatment such as chemotherapy would be eligible for free IVF.

The reasons for the IVF age limit aren't clear, but it appears the province is trying to reduce costs to the health care system from older women who attempt pregnancy at an advanced age.

Women over 40 have a higher risk for developing pre-eclampsia – a form of high blood pressure that can develop during pregnancy -- compared to women in their 20s and early 30s. They also have a higher risk of delivering by caesarean section.

But the proposed changes are already being met with criticism.

Mississauga-based fertility specialist Dr. Matt Gysler agrees older women are at risk of pregnancy complications. But he says the increased health costs for older mothers are modest on average, and the number of women over 40 who go through IVF is small.

"It would virtually not be noticeable in their health care budget. So I don't think there's a really good financial argument to be made," he told CTV News Channel.

Gysler says he believes decisions about age restrictions should come in the form of professional standards, not from government directives.

"I don't really understand how a government can legislate good medical care," he said.

He also says many women over age 40 use egg donation to achieve their dream of having children "and that should not at all be restricted by government legislation."

Some groups such as the Infertility Awareness Association of Canada warn that Bill 20 will result in "medical tourism," prompting Quebec women to travel to fertility clinics in other provinces to conceive and return to Quebec to give birth.

In an apparent attempt to combat that from happening, the proposed legislation would fine doctors as much as $50,000 for either performing IVF on a patient older than 42 -- or for merely referring patients to IVF clinics outside the province.

Gysler finds that outrageous.

"The penalty is kind of draconian and doesn't make any sense," Gysler said. "Because at the end of the day, we're here to help women."