Falling pregnant can be an emotionally and financially taxing experience for women accessing IVF treatment but a first-of-its-kind NSW government program aims to relieve the costs for expecting families.
Women who have IVF treatments in private clinics can laim a $2000 rebate as part of an $80 million expansion to the Affordable IVF Initiative.
It is estimated the rebate will help about 12,000 women statewide with out-of-pocket costs associated with fertility treatments in private clinics.
Treasurer Matt Kean, who has been a vocal advocate for women and family-friendly policies, said the investment would enable fertility treatments to become more accessible to NSW families.
“We believe no one should have to choose between managing a household budget and starting a family,” he told reporters on Tuesday at Monash IVF Clinic in Sydney.
“This is all about ensuring NSW is one of the most affordable places … to access fertility treatments and IVF.”
Women’s Minister Bronnie Taylor said 16 per cent of NSW couples faced fertility issues.
She lauded the program for also helping women in regional areas of the state who can now afford to come to Sydney or another major city for specialised treatment instead of feeling isolated.
“There’s more women entering the workforce than we’ve ever seen before, more women pursuing their careers so the chances and reality … is that people choose to have children later and that can often present (fertility) issues,” Ms Taylor said on Tuesday.
Gita Smith, a Sydney mother who applied for the rebate, said she had four rounds of IVF treatments, had a miscarriage and two operations for stage four endometriosis, before falling pregnant after more than three years.
“I don’t want women to feel silent or feel embarrassed or inadequate because they can’t fall pregnant naturally or they have fertility issues,” she said.
“It can be so emotionally and physically taxing to go through that fertility journey and to have that financial support… has made all the difference to us”.
She said the money has helped her undergo a fourth and final round of treatment resulting in a pregnancy that is 14 weeks along.
Another 6180 places in public health clinics are also accounted for.
The rebate can be claimed through the MyService NSW account or in person at a Service NSW centre.
(Australian Associated Press)