IVF cap plan upsets Lennox Head couple
By ZOE SATHERLEY
CARMEL and Jake Buckley can't figure it out.
The Lennox Head couple, who had two beautiful children through the IVF program, are perplexed and angry at the Federal Government's planned funding cuts.
"We could never have afforded to have our children without the Medicare subsidy," Carmel said.
"Cutting it doesn't make sense at all. I actually find it very upsetting.
"On the one hand, the Government is thrusting money into our hands with their $3000 baby bonus and urging couples to 'have a baby for the country'," Carmel said.
"On the other hand, they are penalising the very people who are most committed to bringing loved and wanted children into the world."
Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott has drawn widespread criticism following his proposal to cap Medicare IVF rebates.
Under his plan, Medicare subsidies would be restricted to three IVF procedures a year for women under 42 and a total of three for older women.
The move has been slammed as dangerous, discriminatory, short-sighted and a false economy by groups including IVF parents, medical experts, infertility support groups and even some Liberal politicians.
However, Member for Page Ian Causley said while he realised IVF techniques were important to people who were unable to have a baby naturally, 'there's a limit to what the taxpayer can afford to pay'.
"People can still access IVF, but it will be at some cost to themselves," he said.
Carmel and Jake Buckley went on the IVF program when they were both aged 29. They are now 38.
Out of five attempts to implant embryos, two were successful, leading to the birth of Jake, 7, and Maximus, 3. The couple have two other children, Sammyjo, 18, and Damien, 16.
The five-year process to conceive Jake and Maximus cost them about $25,000 ? and that was with the Medicare rebate and private health insurance.
"Couples don't go into this lightly. There is an enormous financial, emotional and physical cost," Carmel said.
"The procedures are incredibly painful and invasive and it is a terrible emotional rollercoaster waiting to see if the embryo lives.
"Losing each baby is devastating, and then you have to find the inner strength and the money to try again.
"I am shocked that the number of subsidised attempts is to be reduced. It will just increase the stress and the risk to both mother and baby.