Women and couples undergoing IVF have been given a $2000 lifeline to help with the expensive procedure, with the NSW government announcing the Australia-first policy.
The NSW Coalition announced the $80 million NSW Affordable IVF Initiative on Tuesday morning, which will help 12,000 couples pay for out-of-pocket costs associated with the treatment.
NSW Treasurer Matt Kean, said the Coalition had factored in $18 million in the 2022 to 2023 budget to specifically support cancer patients with fertility preservation.
“The high costs of fertility treatment can be a hurdle and add stress to those experiencing fertility issues but the NSW government is helping to lower these costs for families wanting to have a baby,” he said.
NSW Treasurer Matt Kean said money had been set aside as part of the initiative to specifically support those who have been diagnosed with cancer. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jeremy Piper
Part of the NSW affordable IVF initiative also includes up to five days paid fertility leave for public servants, like teachers, and nurses in order to access the paid fertility treatments.
Minister for Women, Bronnie Taylor estimated that 16 per cent of all couples will face fertility issues and acknowledged the financial burden of IVF and assisted fertility on families. She also confirmed that same-sex couples will be able to access the scheme.
“We want this rebate to be accessible to everybody, so it’s available to all couples and it’s available for (single) women to seek that treatment”, said and Taylor.
“Families are families and they come in all shapes and sizes. We want to support everybody through this process.”
According to Monash IVF, a single IVF cycle can cost between $9,372 – $10,112. That amount can increase up to $11,217 if that includes Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), when a single sperm is injected into the egg before implantation.
The new $2000 rebate can also be used in conjunction with existing Medicare rebates which can partly cover specialist appointments, and testing.
To access the rebate, the patient must be a resident of NSW and have incurred an out-of-pocket cost from a registered provider and accessed treatment from October 1, 2022 onwards.
As the policy stands, couples can only claim the $2000 rebate once, regardless of how many cycles are required to result in a successful pregnancy.
Ms Taylor said if the policy exceeds the 12,000-couple cap, the government may extend the number of people who can access the rebate.
“Now if that is the case (that we exceed that) then it’s my job to go to the Treasurer and say: ‘This program has been so successful, we might have to expand that’,” she said.
While the cost of an IVF cycle can greatly differ depending on the clinic and treatment needed, the Director of Monash IVF clinic, Dr Katrina Rowan said the rebate would “significantly” contribute to out of pocket costs.
It’s also possible the rebate may help increase accessibility to more complex IVF treatments that require extra care, extra services and are generally only available through the private health care system.
More to come