Sunday, March 10, 2013

Medicare rebates for surrogacy

You go girls! I believe Tanya Plibersek's office is accepting submissions. I wonder where in legislation it states people undergoing surrogacy should not have the same right to medicare rebates for IVF that everyone else does. Seriously, who came up with that gem of discrimination? I know of people who have done 15-20 cycles of IVF, why should they be funded for treatment that is clearly not going to work (could we call this medicare fraud by the treating doctors involved) and the minority of people pursuing surrogacy get nothing? Don't forget we pay for Medicare through our taxes. I am more than happy that some of our hard earned cash supports these families.

Two Brisbane women are leading the push for Medicare rebates for surrogacy, arguing legislation is discriminatory

Jillian Spears, 40, and Melissa Delaware, 35, both of Springfield Lakes. Both women are petitioning the Federal Government to change regulations to allow Medicare rebates for women/couples using surrogates to have children. PIC: Liam Kidston Source: The Courier-Mail
TWO Brisbane women are leading a push for Medicare rebates for women using surrogates to have babies.
Medicare pays rebates to couples using IVF, irrespective of income, the number of cycles and whose eggs and sperm are used, but anyone using legal surrogacy arrangements receive nothing.
Springfield Lakes residents Melissa Delaware, 35, and Jillian Spears, 40, who cannot bear children after battles with cancer, are trying to have babies using legal surrogates to give birth.
They say the legislation is discriminatory and are petitioning the Federal Government to change the regulations.
Mrs Delaware said while babies born through surrogacy were recognised for tax purposes, the Baby Bonus and paid parental leave, any IVF treatment leading to their birth was not recognised by Medicare.
She said this meant she and husband Michael could afford only one attempt at having a baby.
"Any other woman could do this four times for the same money we're spending on just one cycle," said Mrs Delaware, who had her uterus removed last year.
"A woman without a uterus or the ability to carry a pregnancy for medical reasons is treated less favourably than other women who can."
Fertility clinic figures show a single cycle of IVF incurred out-of-pocket expenses of $3400-$4800, while Mrs Delaware expects her costs to reach more than $50,000.
Mrs Spears, 40, who had her uterus removed after medical complications in 2007, is trying to have a child using her sister as surrogate and has so far paid $15,000 for IVF treatment (excluding embryo transfer) and $3500 in related costs.
"I feel we're being disadvantaged by current legislation due to our circumstances which are entirely beyond our control," Mrs Spears said.
On top of IVF costs, women using surrogates also face legal and counselling costs and their surrogate's health, insurance and travel costs.
Mrs Delaware estimated the average cost of legal surrogacy to be around $60,000, with many couples taking out personal loans or mortgaging their homes.
"Surrogacy is already a huge financial burden on couples, so any monetary assistance would help alleviate some of that," she said.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data showed there were just 19 births from Australian surrogacy arrangements in 2009.
"The numbers of couples are so small, it's not a lot of money for the government. But it's an awful lot for us and would mean the world to us to become parents (again)," Mrs Delaware said.
A spokesman for Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said the Government would consider the matter.

No comments: