A Brisbane gay couple have welcomed a Senate inquiry’s recommendation to axe an “archaic” Medicare exclusion that will make their journey to becoming dads through surrogacy easier.
Alex and Tom told ABC News last month that their required IVF procedures cost between $12,000 and $16,000.
Medicare rebates would reimburse close to half of the expenses. However, parents aiming to have a baby via surrogacy are excluded from receiving Medicare rebates for IVF procedures.
Now a federal Senate inquiry into Universal Access to Reproductive Healthcare has recommended the government remove that exclusion.
Reacting to the inquiry’s report, Alex said all intended parents, regardless of gender or couple type, must get equal access to Medicare and PBS rebates for IVF-related expenses.
The dads-to-be made submissions to the inquiry. Now they’ll lobby politicians to follow through on implementing the recommendation.
“This [recommendation] is an important first step towards us fulfilling our dream of having a family,” he said.
“However, more change is required to ensure the application of Government rebates are distributed equally and fairly.”
Lawyer Stephen Page, an expert in surrogacy related matters, described the Medicare exclusion as an “an archaic anomaly” from the time surrogacy was illegal.
“The states have all recognised altruistic surrogacy arrangements. But the Commonwealth is still to catch up by treating these couples fairly,” he said.
Labor and Greens Senators supported scrapping Medicare surrogacy rule
Greens Senator Janet Rice chaired the Senate Inquiry into Universal Access to Reproductive Healthcare.
The inquiry examined a range of issues, including contraception and access to abortion services, as well as barriers to parenthood through surrogacy.
In the report, Labor and Green committee members all supported the removal of the current surrogacy exclusion.
The Greens also backed the removal of further barriers to LGBTIQ+ people accessing reproductive health care.
The committee found that “current practices and standards in the healthcare industry can be unaffirming and exclusionary for LGBTIQ+ people.”
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