If you have needed IVF, you will know that Medicare rebates are available for most fertility treatments. What many people do not know is that Medicare rebates are not available for fertility treatments associated with a surrogacy arrangement.

If you are expecting a baby through surrogacy, you may be wondering how to have your baby listed on your Medicare card.

The Medicare Benefits Schedule Notes TN1.4 stipulates that Medicare benefits are not payable for assisted reproductive services rendered in conjunction with surrogacy arrangements.

Seems pretty unfair, right? It’s even more unfair that it is applied inconsistently, in different clinics, and in different circumstances depending whether someone has a uterus or not.

Now, we have an opportunity to demand reform. On 28 September 2022, the Senate referred an inquiry into the universal access to reproductive healthcare to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report by 31 March 2023. While there is nothing specific in the inquiry about surrogacy, the terms of reference do include the ‘cost and accessibility of reproductive healthcare.’

The inquiry is focused on reproductive healthcare including access to abortion healthcare. The terms of reference are broad enough that submissions can also be made about access to other forms of reproductive healthcare and workplace leave (such as for infertility and pregnancy loss). Many people in the surrogacy community have experience of being unable to access fertility treatment, finding the costs prohibitive, and needing time off work for pregnancy loss and other reproductive health issues.

So, you need to make a submission.

I have made a submission myself, but there is power in numbers and story-telling is a powerful tool for change. If you have experience of any of the above, your submission is important.

You can use the downloadable submission template as a starting point to draft your own submission. You can edit any of the template, include your details and remove the highlights and then submit it online. You can request for your submission to be kept private, or it can be published for the public to read.

You can find all the information about the inquiry, including the terms of reference and instructions for making a submission, on the committee website.

Deadline for submissions is 15 December 2022. The report will be released by 31 March 2023.

Interested in other ideas for surrogacy law reform? I have a lot to say on the subject.

If you are new to surrogacy, you can read about how to find a surrogate, or how to become a surrogate yourself. You can also download the free Surrogacy Handbook which explains the processes and options.

You can read a broad overview for surrogacy in Australia and how it works.

You can read more articles in the Blog, by listen to more episodes of the Surrogacy Podcast. You can also book in for a consult with me below, and check out the legal services I provide.

Hi! I’m Sarah Jefford (she/her). I’m a family creation lawyer, practising in surrogacy and donor conception arrangements. I’m an IVF mum, an egg donor and a traditional surrogate, and I delivered a baby for two dads in 2018.

I advocate for positive, best practice surrogacy arrangements within Australia, and provide support and education to help intended parents make informed decisions when pursuing overseas surrogacy.

more than just a baby

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