One for the Country

We may not represent a large % of the population, but we represent the very segment of the population that Medicare should be most likely to assist.

We pay our Medicare Levies. We work, we pay taxes. We long to fulfill the ‘Great Australian Family Dream’ as outlined in 2004 by then treasurer Peter Costello who famously encouraged parents to have three children: “one for the husband, one for the wife and one for the country”. The dream of a family it seems, is one that is entrenched in every aspect of life.

We are everyday women, with everyday dreams. The idea of the nuclear family is the ‘norm’ in Australia. So some of us long to have our nuclear family. We may have one child, but we’d like to provide our child with a sibling. Yet, we have been robbed of fulfilling our dreams by medical circumstances.

Others of us here on this page don’t have any children at all. The yearning for a child is a strong and primal desire – and it’s not one that can be dismissed lightly.The quote ‘Never give up on something you think about every day’ is one that comes to mind.

Whatever our situation, there is one thing we all have in common – surrogacy is the only means by which we can have children. So why should we be forgotten by Medicare?

There will never be a large % of the population that access surrogacy. So the money we are talking about in terms of Medicare rebates would not become a major financial burden on the system any more than the current IVF rebates are. It just doesn’t make sense on any level that women who are at a medical disadvantage are given less support from the Medicare system than their more fertile sisters.

Surrogacy relies on IVF to operate. So not giving Medicare rebates for IVF on surrogacy  – to the group of women that absolutely and unequivocally need it – seems to go against the grain of what Medicare is set up to do. That is – to make healthcare equitable and accessible to all.

This week, I’ve heard too many sad conversations from our group of women, who are sinking their life savings into one single IVF cycle in the hope it works. The sadness knowing that if this rarified IVF cycle doesn’t work and their surrogate doesn’t get pregnant the curtains fall down on the stage of family dreams.

Given the opportunity to make a few attempts this need not be so. IVF is not an exact science, the hands of creation are still meticulous and exacting. It’s quite normal for a fertility specialist to say that the first attempt is quite literally ‘the test’ to see how you perform on the drugs. The subsequent cycle will be tweaked, refined. Like any good experiment.

When each cycle costs 18,000 or thereabouts, it’s a very bitter pill to swallow. Large numbers sound so abstract, but no matter your current wage you know how hard it is to save that money, only to find you can but afford one cycle. The test. The ultimate test of your finances, and also your ability to handle stress.

If we could change Costello’s mantra to 3 IVF cycles, I’d be happy. One for the father, one for the mother, and one for the Country.

6 thoughts on “One for the Country

  1. Reblogged this on Our Surrogacy Story and commented:

    I urge you to read the following post written by a friend of mine also attempting to have a child via surrogacy. This post details the struggles we have in affording IVF treatment due to the lack of government support, whilst other couples doing IVF get much needed assistance.

  2. What are your feelings and thoughts on allowing surrogacy for same sex couples? Whilst the MBS does not discriminate on sexuality, but does restrict on surrogacy arrangements, I would be curious to know people’s feelings on same sex couples accessing IVF. Cheers.

    • Hi Chris.
      I am supportive of equality under the law, for all members of society. I do not and never would care to stipulate what form love should take and believe all members of society should have the ability to enjoy a family. It seems like a fundamental human desire to me, and denying it is an unusual cruelty. Our campaign is based on our own circumstances – we are a group of women who were brought together by altruistic Australian surrogacy and found that the law did nothing to help us, while other women got access to Medicare for IVF and birth. So we are trying to do something about it. I hope that by changing the law we might also impact your agenda for the future in a positive way. I hope you can raise your voice with us, and we can do the same for you.

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