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fertility funding unfair

MEDIA STATEMENT

fertility funding unfair

6 September 2004

A cruel bureaucratic blunder may deny many New Zealanders access to fertility treatment through a lack of consultation and understanding of the issues.

The Minister of Health announced at fertilityNZ’s conference on the weekend that the recently announced increase in fertility funding for a second cycle of IVF would only be back-dated to 1 July 2003. This means that anyone who had their first publicly funded cycle prior to this date, just fifteen months ago, would not be eligible for a second publicly funded cycle of IVF.

In 2000, the number of funded IVF cycles per couple was reduced to one to ensure consistent national access to the funding and to clear the waiting list. “Had the Ministry taken the time to consult with interested parties on the second cycle funding, it could have been possible to work within the new funding budget AND back-date to 2000, said fertilityNZ Executive Director Sue Domanski. “Backdating only to July 2003 creates a group of very disadvantaged people.”

"When the funding announcement was made in July, there was a commitment made to working out an implementation plan in conjunction with District Health Boards, fertilityNZ and IVF clinics. No approach to date has been made by the Ministry of Health to fertilityNZ, nor as we understand, to the other groups, and yet the Minister announced details of the implementation plan at our conference that raised significant concerns for us," said Ms Domanski.

"We are thrilled that there will be an increase in funding for fertility treatment, but very concerned about the lack of consultation by the Ministry. We will be seeking clarification and a meeting with the Ministry of Health this week, and will be emphasising the implications for those affected by a cut-off date of 1 July 2003."

The increased funding has brought renewed hope to many of fulfilling their dream to be a family. But hopes will be dashed for those disadvantaged by the cut off date - it will be totally devastating news.

ENDS

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