New help for Australians on IVF journey

The Hon Greg Hunt MP

Minister for Health and Aged Care

The Morrison Government is giving Australians new support on their IVF journey, providing Medicare rebates for testing services that can help prevent them passing serious genetic disorders onto their child.

Until now, people who know they are carriers of serious genetic disorders could only access these testing services if they were able to pay privately.

From 1 November 2021, people will be able to claim a Medicare rebate for five new Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items for new Pre-implantation Genetic Testing (PGT) services provided within the existing IVF process.

Types of genetic disorders able to be tested include, but are not limited to, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy, fragile X, neurofibromatosis and Huntington disease.

PGT is a sophisticated scientific technique which can be used to test embryos for either a specific known single gene condition or chromosome variation. This allows chromosomally healthy embryos or those unaffected by a specific genetic disorder to be selected for implantation during an IVF cycle, maximising the chance of a healthy baby.

The Government is providing $95.9 million so that PGT services can be reimbursed through Medicare. This implements recommendations from the independent, expert Medical Services Advisory Committee.

This change will give real, practical support to individuals and couples on their fertility journey. It will help ease the financial strain on people using IVF to conceive.

Under the direction of a medical specialist, Medicare funding will support individuals or couples who carry a risk of passing on a serious genetic or chromosomal disorder to their child for which there is no cure and which causes a severe limitation on the quality of life.

Other IVF services already funded under Medicare will not change under the new arrangements.

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