According to an eminent expert in New Zealand, funding for IVF treatment is lagging behind the country’s larger neighbour Australia.
Dr. John Peek carried out a study over 20 years and found that 1000 babies could have been born if IVF treatment was funded better and the criteria relaxed. He told reporters: “In New Zealand we have a thing called priority criteria where you work out who is eligible for treatment on their ability to benefit.”
“But the threshold is set so high that there are lots of women who would benefit and have a great chance of getting pregnant who don’t even get to the starting point,” he added.
At the moment around 1600 babies are born each year as a direct result of fertility treatments, IVF being just one of them. However Dr. Peek feels that many parents are losing out on the chance to have a baby because of a lack of investment as well as criteria which is too strict.
IVF treatment in New Zealand costs around NZ$9,000 if a private clinic is used. The government however offers 2 free treatments, although there is a restriction if the woman conceives first time then loses the foetus. If this happens, she cannot undergo any further treatment. Dr. Peek feels this is just too restrictive.
The fertility expert is not alone in his belief that his government should re-consider its position. Another expert working at New South Wales University believes there are long term economic benefits to properly funding IVF treatment. Dr Georgina Chambers said that the Australian government benefits to the tune of 240% on any investment.
Infertility across the globe is becoming a real problem. Although the expected world population is thought to grow by around 40% within the next few decades, there will come a time when the effect of infertility could kick in.
While some experts argue that this should benefit, others believe that it could over time have a devastating effect on human population. IVF and other fertility treatments are one way of improving things.