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Inequity In Reproductive Health Funding

12 June 2002

If the Government can spend more than $14 million on pregnancy terminations, why can it only allocate $5.7 million to fertility treatment asks the New Zealand Infertility Society?

Society executive officer Robyn Scott said it seemed ironic in the middle of New Zealand Infertility Awareness Week to read a report (Dominion 12 June) on the increase in women having more than one abortion.

“There is no limit on the number of publicly-funded terminations a woman can have, and yet people affected by infertility are allowed just one IVF cycle fertility treatment in a lifetime. That’s discrimination,” Mrs Scott said.

The Infertility Society says if the Government believes that women should have the right to decide not to have a child, it should equally recognise the right of couples to have a child.

“We have the technology to help couples have the babies they so desperately want. But they are being denied the right to have a family through lack of public funding.”

A total of $14,008,254 was spent last year on terminations. The cost of terminations in the first trimester was more than $11.6 million and more than $2.3 million for terminations in the second. But fertility treatment received just $5.7 million.

The New Zealand Infertility Society is lobbying government to raise the number of publicly funded IVF cycles from one to three. In Australia, there is no limit on the number of IVF treatments funded by the federal government.

Mrs Scott says in no other area of public health are people limited in the treatment they receive.

“If a knee operation fails they don’t say, ‘too bad, you’ve had your chance’. They try again. One in six New Zealand couples are affected by infertility. They have the right a fair share of the reproductive health dollar.”

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