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National To Fund Fertility Treatment

8 June 2002

National will commit to more funding for infertility treatments, it announced today at the launch of New Zealand Infertility Awareness Week in Wellington.

Dr Paul Hutchison, National's Associate Health Spokesperson, announced at the New Zealand Infertility Society's Annual Conference that a National government would over three years increase tertiary fertility funding to allow eligible couples to have up to a total of three IVF cycles or equivalent treatment.

"By the end of our first term National will have phased in additional funding so that couples can have three cycles of invitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment. Couples will have to meet the qualification threshold currently in place.

"Funding three cycles for all eligible couples will cost between $10-12 million a year," Dr Hutchison said.

"I am particularly pleased to announce this on behalf of the Hon Bill English and Hon Roger Sowry in recognition of the enormous work and effort the Infertility Society has put into drawing to public attention the case for New Zealand men and women to have a reasonable choice, and chance to have a child when they find themselves unable to do so.

"One in six New Zealanders suffer from infertility. At present infertile couples are only eligible for one publicly funded cycle," said Dr Hutchison.

"National recognizes that infertility is not a lifestyle choice. By making this announcement National recognizes that the basic wish to have a child should ideally be a fundamental choice to every man and woman", said Dr Hutchison.

Ends

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