New rebate to ease financial burden of IVF

Member for Robertson, Lucy Wicks, with a mother and baby

Central Coast residents may receive help on their IVF journey when the Federal Government starts to provide Medicare rebates for testing services that can help prevent people from passing serious genetic disorders on to their child.

Member for Robertson, Lucy Wicks, said this would help expectant parents across the region using Pre-implantation Genetic Testing (PGT).

“Until now, individuals who know they are carriers of serious genetic disorders could only access these testing services if they were able to pay privately,” Wicks said.

“From November 1, people will be able to claim a Medicare rebate for five new Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items for new Pre-implantation Genetic Testing services provided within the existing IVF process.

“Types of genetic disorders able to be tested include, but are not limited to: cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy, fragile X, neurofibromatosis and Huntington disease.

“This will make a big difference to those in our community currently on the IVF journey and those that will join them in the future.”

PGT is a scientific technique that can be used to test embryos for a specific known single gene condition or chromosome variation.

This allows chromosomally healthy embryos or those unaffected by a genetic disorder to be selected for implantation during an IVF cycle, maximising the chance of a healthy baby.

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said PGT would help ease the financial strain of IVF.

“Our government is providing $95.9M so that PGT services can be reimbursed through Medicare,” he said.

“This implements recommendations from the independent Medical Services Advisory Committee.

“This change will give real, practical support to individuals and couples on their fertility journey.

“Under the direction of a medical specialist, Medicare funding will support individuals or couples who carry a risk of passing on a serious genetic or chromosomal disorder to their child for which there is no cure and which causes a severe limitation on the quality of life.”

Other IVF services already funded under Medicare will not change under the new arrangements.

More information is available at MBS Online.

Media release, Oct 27
Member for Robertson, Lucy Wicks