Tracy’s Story

Let me just start this by saying that in no way does my story compare to the heartache that others in this blog have been through. My husband and I have been blessed with a gorgeous little boy. However, the current Medicare legislations are certainly putting an extra hurdle in the way of completing our family.

Tracy with her husband John and precious son Oliver

Tracy with her husband John and precious son Oliver

John and I met and married within a year and a half. We were in our early thirties and just knew it was right. We both had stable jobs, I was a primary school teacher and John was an engineer. We had the car, the house, the Labrador. The next thing to conquer was the kids! We were so excited to start a family together and hoped to have three children. I come from a small family and John’s family are all in Ireland so it was our plan to bring back the noisy house and big Christmases that I’d dreamed of. We fell pregnant very quickly. At our 10 week scan, we found that the heartbeat had stopped. We were devastated. But four months later, we found that we were pregnant again. I was anxious, but as the weeks rolled on I got more and more confident that this pregnancy was going to work. I was healthy throughout and we got busy preparing for our new addition. Oliver was born after a drug free natural labour on the 5th of November 2012. As the doctor placed him on my chest, I began to feel strange. I don’t remember much after that… Apparently, my uterus inverted causing a severe post partum haemorrhage. I required 13 units of blood in a transfusion and my blood pressure was so low that they were expecting brain damage or cardiac arrest! The only way to save my life was an emergency hysterectomy. My poor husband saw all this unfold and had to give the consent to perform the operation, something he’ll never come to terms with.

I remember waking up in the ICU after being on life support for a couple of days. I was so relieved to hear that my son was fine but was absolutely heartbroken to hear that I would not be able to carry any more children. I just sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. I had never felt emotional pain like that before.

Tracy's wishes she could give her son Oliver a sibling

Tracy’s wishes she could give her son Oliver a sibling

Anyway, fast forward almost 4 months and I love being a mummy. I’m on maternity leave and enjoying every minute of it. Physically I have healed, however, I’m not ready to give up the dream of more children. I’ve looked into adoption and permanent care, however, there are so few children to be placed that our chances aren’t high. During my research I have found that finding a gestational carrier can happen to everyday families like us! At this stage, I’m unsure if this will occur in Australia or overseas. This is completely dependent on whether I can find a carrier here or not, but either way, I will be doing my IVF cycle on home soil. We have discussed the priorities for our family and have decided that another child is more important to us than a new car or material possessions. We will be using all of our savings to fund this and we are just hoping that the bank will allow us to take out another loan to cover the rest. If it doesn’t work the first time, I don’t think a second time will be an option. A child is our priority but if we can’t get more money, there is nothing we can do. I already feel ‘ripped off’ that I had to have a hysterectomy, but being charged extra for IVF services is like kicking us when we are down. All I can do is to hope that our actions here will persuade the powers that be to change the Medicare ruling and give us the chance to complete our family.

Holly’s Story

Holly & Ash

Holly & Ash

At age 14 i was diagnosed with a severe mullerian anomaly with a unicornuate uterus and severe endometriosis. The endometriosis drowned my fallopian tubes and one ovary. What i was left with was half a uterus, one ovary that was not connected, one kidney and no cervix. At 14 years old this was devastating. At 18 I met Ash (23), he was beautifiul, kind and supportive. Like any normal couple our age we had a normal lifestyle, normal paying jobs and a house loan but there was just one thing missing, a child. 6 operations later the news I received was heart breaking ” I’m so sorry Holly, there is nothing more we can do” Surrogacy was our only option. I spent months resaeaching how to go about it and what to do. My gorgeous mum was the first person to offer, it was like a dream come true. Sadly Mum was diagnosed with hormone related cancer and was no longer able to carry our baby. Six months later a wonderful woman offered to carry my baby. The words estatic and overjoyed don’t even come close to what we were feeling! However those feeling didn’t last long when we were told that medicare wouldn’t cover us for IVF. We are looking at around $15,000 – $20,000. As a normal young couple this just seemed out of reach. Medicare cover everyone else for IVF but will not cover us. Not only do we have $15-20,000 for IVF but we also have another $20,000 + for other surrogacy involved costs. It is my understanding that when Medicare made this decision surrogacy was illegal, now that surrogace IS legal here in Australia the outdated laws need to change. So over all i feel discriminated against and think this is greatly unfair. Please change the law so that us and couples like us can be blessed with a family

Sign our Petition for Change to Medicare Laws

Our petition for the House of Representatives is now complete. We would love for your support in obtaining signatures. Everyone can assist.

Given this is a formal document; a strict procedure needs to be followed for us to be able to submit it to the House of Representatives. For example it is very important that each page is original.

Download the document by clicking on the below link in blue:

Petition for change of Medicare Law

Once you have filled your page or pages with signatures, please return it to us. This must be done via mail or dropped off in person as each original page must be submitted to parliament.

Return to:
Melissa Delaware
69 James Josey Avenue
Springfield Lakes QLD 4300

If you have any questions about the petition or what it is we are actually asking for, please do not hesitate to contact us or comment below and we will answer your questions.

Your support is invaluable and these changes are not possible without your support.

Thank you so much

General IVF Costs vs Surrogacy IVF Costs

Where ART is required to create embryos, provided a surrogate is not used, Medicare financially assists families by providing rebates. This is regardless as to whether the couples own sperm and eggs are used, they use donor sperm and eggs or a combination of both. Provided a surrogate is not used to carry the embryo Medicare will provide a rebate. These rebates are paid in accordance with the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and are not means tested.

Below is a table showing the average out of pocket expenses, couples can expect to pay when they do not use a surrogate:

IVF Australia, IVF Treatment Costs, http://ivf.com.au/ivf-fees/ivf-costs (February 2013)

IVF Australia, IVF Treatment Costs, http://ivf.com.au/ivf-fees/ivf-costs (February 2013)

Medicare does not provide a rebate for hospital related services, such as egg collection and embryo transfer. However Medicare may provide a rebate for the anaesthetist and those with private health may be eligible for a rebate from their fund. Out of pocket expenses for hospital related services range from $1,000 to $2,400 depending on whether the couple has private health cover.

With the assistance of Medicare, couples can expect to pay a total of $3500 to $5000 per full cycle.

There is no limit to how many cycles a couple may undertake during a year. In fact, the more cycles a couple does each year, the more Medicare will pay. When couples reach their annual threshold, the Extended Medicare Safety Net (EMSN) provides an additional rebate. Given it is usually necessary for a woman to have 3-5 IVF cycles before a successful pregnancy occurs , this can result in Medicare contributing $7,500 to $13,500.

Where a surrogate is used, Medicare does not provide any rebate for the IVF cycle. This is regardless of whether the couple use their own eggs and sperm to create the embryos or where donor eggs and sperm are used. Couples using a surrogate to carry their embryo can expect to pay between $16,000 – $18,000 for a single IVF cycle. In addition to these expenses couples using surrogates have legal costs, counselling costs and the usual pregnancy costs. Couples can expect to spend up to $60,000, provided their surrogate gets pregnant within the first or subsequent IVF cycle.

Why is it ok for the Government to help women with fertility issues but who can still carry their babies but not help women who cannot carry their own babies? There is no extra costs or extra procedures involved when a surrogate is used. The IVF procedure is exactly the same, except the embryo goes into another woman not the same woman.

For me personally I have never used IVF. I had no fertility issues. I had cancer, hysterectomy thats it. Can no longer carry my baby. I have just completed my first round of IVF. So far it has cost me almost $17,000. I only got 2 embryos. One embryo is currently, hopefully, growing in my surrogate. The other embryo is on ice. So I only got 2 shots. We cannot afford another $17,000. This is it for us.

If I had my own uterus. So far I would be out of pocket about $4000. The pressure would not be as great for one of these two embryos to become a baby, because we could have another go. We could afford another $4000. In fact 3 rounds of IVF with Medicare rebates would be less than what I have paid so far for 1 round.

Just seems so unfair to me. Why should I be treated differently to so many of my friends who have done IVF. Why should I not get a shot of having the family I always dreamed of?

These laws need to change. Equal access to Medicare Rebates to all those doing IVF!

51 Letters sent to Australian Politicians and other Community Groups

Thanks to our group who is campaigning to change the unfair Medicare laws, we have managed to send 51 letters to politicians and other community groups in a few days. Well done everyone!

But this is not enough!! If we want to be heard its going to take a lot more than 51 letters. I urge you all send letters to your politicians. We have made it easy for you, we have included template letters and contact details for many politicians.

Here is a link where you can see who has sent what letters and the responses we have received so far. Letters sent and Response to date

Laurie’s Story

In every family there is “the sporty one”, “the funny one”, “the pretty one” and my has all of these but I am not one of them, in my family I was always known as “the sick one”. Born with a hole in my heart I developed complications as a young adult and as a result spent a significant amount of my life in hospitals, that was until I received a life saving heart-double lung transplant at the age of 24 in July 2002. Since then I haven’t looked back, I went back to uni, met and married the love of my life and work for a living.

This is Laurie with her husband

This is Laurie with her husband

There is however, one thing that is missing from our lives that my husband and I so dearly would love and that is a child. Although it may be physically possible for me to carry a child, i.e. I still have all the “bits”, the risks to my health and the health of the baby are extremely high, e.g. kidney failure, rejection of my organs, miscarriage, even death. So my husband and I have made the very hard decision that for me to carry a child is just too risky.

Now I am an extremely healthy woman, I have been for over ten years and plan on being for many, many more. And I believe that my husband and I deserve the right to have a family as much as any other couple. I am not a wealthy socialite who doesn’t want to destroy her figure or someone who is too busy to carry her own child. I was heartbroken when I was told by the doctors how risky it was for me to carry my own child as I wanted nothing more than to do just this.

So for my husband and I surrogacy is our only option. However Medicare and its outdated views on funding towards surrogacy is holding us back because we don’t have thousands and thousands of dollars sitting in the bank just waiting to pay an IVF doctor. We have a mortgage which we work hard to pay, I am not on a pension, we are just your average Aussie couple.

Why should a woman who has problems falling pregnant but can carry a baby get a Medicare rebate and only be out of pocket a few thousand dollars while I can’t carry a baby because it puts extreme risk on my health, surrogacy is legal, and yet I get no rebate. Without a rebate from Medicare IVF costs can be upwards of $15 000, and this is just IVF, this doesn’t include other costs involved with surrogacy. Medicare needs to change its views on funding towards surrogacy as it is discrimination plain and simple and it must be stopped!

Busy Weekend for Sending Letters

Well its been a busy weekend sending letters to politicians and other organisations asking for assistance. Thought it would be good to give everyone an update of what letters have been sent over the weekend:

Tanya Plibersek
Laurence Springborg
Tanya Plibersek
Peter Dutton
Laurence Springborg
Jo-ann Miller
Annastacia Palaszczuk
Jackie Trad
Nicola Roxon
Sarah Hansen-Young
Adam Bant
Lee Rhiannon
Kim Carr
Stephen Conroy
Tony Zappia
Jillian​ Skinner
Andrew McDonald
David Davis
Gavin Jennings
Kate Gallagher
Jeremy Hanson
Michelle O’Byrne
David William Tollner
Jeremy Rockliff
Kon Vatskalis
Jack Snelling
Rob Lucas
Kim Hames
Roger Hugh Cook
Queensland Assoication of Independent Legal Services
Caxton Legal Centre Inc
South West Brisbane Community Legal Centre
Women’s Legal Service

Remember if you have sent letters please let us know so we can update our activities sheet. So far I have only been notified by one person of what letters she sent. Thanks Carrie!!

I won’t upload copies of all the above letters, many are the same and they are based on the templates uploaded here. However if you wish for a copy of any of the above please just ask.