13 November 2018

BOOSTING REGIONAL IVF SO MORE PEOPLE CAN ACHIEVE THEIR DREAMS

A re-elected Andrews Labor Government will make sure more regional Victorians can start a family and discover the joys of parenthood through IVF, with more regional services offered without the high costs.

IVF can help people who want to become parents achieve their dreams, but too often, it’s financially out of reach. IVF is hard enough on hopeful families, and it’s even harder for those in regional areas, so they shouldn’t have to deal with the financial pressures and the lack of services.

That’s why the Labor Government commissioned a landmark review of assisted reproductive treatment. The review’s interim report, released today, highlights issues of affordability and access to IVF, and finds the service is out of reach for too many Victorians, with an IVF cycle costing up to $15,000 before Medicare rebates.

Even with rebates, Victorians are left thousands of dollars out of pocket just for following their dreams of starting a family, and those in regional areas face the extra barriers of a lack of local services and the costs of travelling to Melbourne. For Victorians struggling with the cost of living, this is an unavoidable barrier – and that’s not fair.

A re-elected Labor Government will establish public IVF services – bulk-billed and subsidised for low-income Victorians. A $32 million investment will establish public IVF services that will also work with a regional health service, so that more Victorians have an opportunity to become parents through IVF.

About 13,000 Victorians were treated at IVF clinics in the last financial year, but less than 10 per cent accessed services at the state’s only bulk-billing clinic. Only Labor will establish properly funded public IVF services.

Labor will also crack down on unscrupulous IVF providers who prey on desperate Victorians and peddle false hope about their chances of becoming pregnant. We will task the Health Complaints Commissioner to lead an investigation into dodgy, dangerous and unethical practices by IVF providers including where providers fail to be upfront about success rates or costs – with hefty penalties for those who don’t comply.

We will also abolish an outdated rule that allows men to control the reproductive rights of women, amending the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act to remove the requirement that women need the approval of their former partner to access IVF using her own eggs and donor sperm.

The review of Victoria’s assisted reproductive services finds that costs are a barrier for too many Victorian families. It makes a number of interim recommendations, including:

  • Changing the regulations to improve access to IVF for rural and regional Victorians
  • Improving reimbursements for altruistic surrogacy
  • Reducing hurdles and discrimination faced by the LGBTI community trying to access IVF

Only Labor will stand with Victorians as they try to start a family. The Liberals cut a billion dollars from health when they were last in office, and these are the types of programs they’ll take an axe to if they get the chance.