How some use their Superannuation to pay for IVF

David Pereira  TL;DR: It is possible to use your super to pay for IVF if you can't afford it. However, you will (obviously) have less in super when you go to retire.

Before you get started, please read my general advice disclaimer. Note I am not making any superannuation strategy recommendation, rather, this article is in opinion on such strategy.

Until a few months ago, I had no idea how much IVF cost.

On a child free weeknight during the school holidays (thank you grandparents), my wife and I had dinner with another couple we knew via my wife's mothers group. The discussion soon turned to the topic of having kids, where they announced that they were currently undergoing another cycle of IVF.  The discussion turned to their "why" - the need they felt in grow their family, the amount of anxiety they held while trying to conceive their child, and the joy, envy and sadness they feel as their friends and siblings were all having babies.

Feeling very grateful to be blessed with 2.5 children (our third due in 15th June 17), I can say I have never appreciated the level of mental distress not being able to have children can have.

Typical IVF Cycle Costs (Perth, WA)

The typical costs for IVF (before medicare rebate) in Western Australia

Our friends that night said they needed about $12,000, which they pulled out of their mortgage. Each IVF cycle was going to cost around $7,000-$8,000 (medicare will rebate 70-80% of this) with the couple at that stage at completing their fourth cycle. They also needed to cover all the other incidentals such as cycle tracking, ovulation induction, ultrasounds, prescriptions, and the anaesthetist's fee. 

IVF in Australia is more affordable due to Medicare rebates... but there are no rebates for those using IVF for surrogacy, making it 300% more expensive.
— Surrogacy Australia

In recent times, the media has been reporting on stories like that off Katie Murphy and her partner (as told in the SMH) have given more women hope in helping fund the cost of having a baby. The Melbourne couple was able to access $56,000 out of her superannuation fund to pay for IVF treatment via surrogacy. This was a result of the couple able to obtain a psychiatric report which confirmed that Kate has been experiencing mental distress due to not being able to have a child.

The graph above shows the gross cost per cycle for IVF. If our friends, for example, went down the path of surrogacy, there would be no Medicare rebate. 


Accessing super to pay for IVF? 

The first step in using Super to pay for IVF is to apply to the Department of Human Services. In this application, we are citing regulation 6.19A(1) of the SIS Regulations 1994. The regulations state that superannuation can be released early to treat a life-threatening illness or injury; alleviate acute or chronic pain; or alleviate acute or chronic mental disturbance.

What must be met to meet this requirement?

Under Reg 6.19(1), the regulations state that for a benefit to be paid out via super, the applicant needs to show that:

  1. The amount released amount must be used to pay for medical treatment for the individual or their dependent
  2. That the person does not have the financial ability to pay for the expense
  3. Two medical practitioners must certify that the medical treatment is necessary for the treatment to alleviate acute, chronic or mental illness; and
  4. The treatment is not readily available to the person, or the dependent, through the public health system.

Need Assistance?

If you are looking to access your super to pay for IVF, I recommend getting professional advice. Should you be seeking professional advice, please get in touch with Crown Wealth Management. There is no cost for the phone call, and recommend you get in contact ASAP as it can be difficult to recoup the costs if you have already paid for them out of pocket.

Fill in your needs at the bottom of the page to get in touch.

Early access to superannuation for other treatment

It is also possible to access your superannuation for other purposes, such as:

  • Obesity operations
  • Orthopaedic expenses
  • Dental work
  • Plastic surgery
  • Cosmetic operations
  • Medical Transport
  • Mortgage Repayments (financial hardship provisions) 

Want more information on how to access your super for IVF (or other treatments)? Fill out your details below and we'll be in touch.

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