Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 April 2021) . . Page.. 875 ..
IVF Clinics goes a long way towards this, whereby people can compare the success rates of clinics, based on criteria pertaining to their circumstance. Counselling also needs to occur pre, during and post treatment. Post-treatment counselling needs to address matters particularly for people who come to the end of their ART journey and face the prospect of never having children.
I draw attention to the need for support services and care for males involved in ART, either with a female partner or as a donor. In a society of gendered norms where men are typically expected to be strong and invulnerable, I imagine many men carry a sense of responsibility to provide care for their partner who is undergoing treatment while also suffering emotionally themselves. There are also men who suffer emotional turmoil in cases where it is the male factor that prevents a couple conceiving naturally. I want to ensure that ART services recognise the unique needs of both men and women and are capable of providing personalised services where patients, female and male, do not feel like they are just a paying client.
That brings me to another point—ART is expensive. Even after Medicare rebates, an individual or couple is likely to be out of pocket at least $4,000 per IVF cycle. Lower income people in our community cannot afford ART treatment, especially when there is no guarantee that they will have success. As part of the motion I call on the ACT government to investigate funding models and explore opportunities for ART services to be available for lower income individuals and couples in our community.
The federal government has recently introduced a bill addressing mitochondrial donation. If passed, it will allow for the use of permitted mitochondrial donation techniques as part of the ART process across all Australian states and territories. This will allow women whose mitochondria would otherwise predispose their potential children to severe and life-threatening mitochondrial disease to have a biological child who will not inherit that predisposition. I call on the ACT government to consider the potential impact of this bill on the ACT’s legislative arrangements.
I know that some, if not all, of our ART service providers in the ACT provide excellent patient care and services of the highest professional standard. In bringing this motion to the Assembly I do so not in any way to criticise our clinics and their staff but to ensure that our attention is on patients and that their emotional wellbeing is the first priority in ART treatment.
I call on the ACT government to review and report by August 2022 on the availability of ART support services, comparable regulatory arrangements in other jurisdictions, the appropriateness of the current regulatory regime in the ACT, the potential impact of the federal government’s mitochondrial donation law reform and the availability of ART for low-income earners in the ACT.
ART is a life-changing experience. It is emotionally and physically draining. It can be invasive and distressing and a long, grief-filled process. In contrast, it can be the most life-giving, joyful experience for couples and individuals. I want to make sure that anyone in Canberra undergoing ART treatment is provided with the best possible care, resources and patient support. I look forward to continuing to be a part of the