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Change to Assisted Reproductive Technologies Health Directive

Access to assisted reproductive technologies (ART) for same-sex attracted women was clarified in a recent Health Directive issued by the Department of Defence.

Health Directive No 203 released 11 Feb 2013 stated that “Medicare provides benefits for ART only where ART is the clinically appropriate response to medical infertility. Benefits are not payable for surrogacy or for social infertility.”

A spokesperson from Joint Health Command indicated that the use of the term ‘social infertility’ in the Directive means non-clinical reasons for infertility, and that the revision to the policy does not discriminate against lesbians who are infertile.

Australian Defence Force personnel are provided with clinically relevant medical care at no cost via their conditions of employment.

A lesbian clinically diagnosed with infertility should have access to clinically relevant medical services, including ART noting that Medicare also provides these services.

The term 'social infertility' is expected to be removed and clarified in a future amendment to the Health Directive.

The policy also notes “Medicare benefits are payable for ARTs services (including IVF) where the services are considered to be clinically relevant, meaning medically necessary for the appropriate treatment of the patient. ARTs must also be performed in accordance with State and Territory laws.”

The contents of this article are: general in nature, current at the time of publishing, and not tailored for individual circumstances. Members should consult with Defence medical personnel to seek clarification of how the Defence Health Directive might apply to their individual circumstances. Members who consider that they are subjected to discrimination should call the Defence Equity Adviser Line to seek further information and advice.

About the Author
Author: Vince Chong
Vince is the President of DEFGLIS. He is a project manager and an electronics engineer.
Also written by this author:

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