Taxpayers have forked out almost $12 million on fertility treatments, including IVF, for Defence force personnel over the past five years.
The Daily Telegraph reports, the extent of the costs has prompted Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi — an outspoken critic of Defence funding sex-change surgeries for personnel — to call for the ADF to cease funding for fertility treatments.
“Defence funding decisions should be about the security of the nation,” Senator Bernardi told News Corp.
“It’s not a ‘pay my medical bills’ agency,” he said.
The Senator said the ADF needed to be “freed from the constraints of political correctness”.
The Australian Defence Force covers the Medicare rebate plus the gap for “assisted reproductive technology services” for personnel.
In addition to IVF, these services also include fertility medication, surrogacy and cryopreservation — where eggs, sperm and reproductive tissue can be preserved for later IVF.
This means ADF employees don’t have to pay the out-of-pocket costs that average Australians pay which can be up to $4600 for treatments such as IVF.
The cost of fertility treatments is part of a massive blowout in overall healthcare expenses for Defence personnel, which have more than doubled in 10 years to $444 million in 2017.
Defence health funding came under the spotlight last year when Freedom of Information documents revealed the ADF had paid for 27 members to receive treatment for gender dysphoria and for 17 individuals to have sex-change surgery, with the total cost reaching $1,052,330.
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