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National Shows Family Commitment

12 June 2002

By announcing its intention to publicly fund three cycles of IVF treatment for couples affected by infertility should it become the Government, the National Party has demonstrated its commitment to the Kiwi family says the New Zealand Infertility Society.

Society executive officer Robyn Scott says National’s policy on treatment for infertile couples, announced this week during the New Zealand Infertility Awareness Week, shows the party recognises the right of every New Zealander to have a family.

A new study released this week confirms the cost of children is a sound investment. One in six couples seek help to conceive a pregnancy. Although success rates have improved since the first IVF baby 20 years ago, the cost of fertility treatment ranges from $200 to more than $20,000 per baby depending on the problem and difficulty of the treatment.

“Whether paid for by the Government or by the couple privately, this study analysed the financial implications of these costs,” Mrs Scott says.

Australian and previous New Zealand studies have estimated the total child rearing cost to parents and government was more than $100,000. This updated study by Lincoln University and Otago University researchers includes food, housing, clothing, education and overall cost adjusted for inflation.

It costs more than $130,000 to raise a child to age 16 years. Complex variables and difficulties with health costs make this figure only an estimate. When infertility treatment is required, the total “debt” is up to $180,000.

However, regardless of whether a child is conceived naturally or with advanced IVF procedures, the good news is that future income and therefore taxation will mean that a child will “pay off” this debt by the age of 25 to 30.

Dr Greg Phillipson, deputy medical director of the Fertility Centre in Christchurch who led the study says, “A purely financial analysis indicates that children really are an asset. Those involved with providing funding for fertility treatment should consider these results. Rather than considering fertility treatment a rationed cost, it is really a long term financial investment”.

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