Infertile couples paying a heavy price for Labor

Scott Morrison with his wife Jenny and daughter Abbey.
Scott Morrison with his wife Jenny and daughter Abbey. 

Abigail Rose Morrison was born on the seventh day of the seventh month of the seventh year of our new century.

She is our miracle child, the answer to a lifetime of prayer and 14 years of painful, invasive, heartbreaking fertility treatment.

The decision to force these families to pay an extra $2000 per cycle of IVF treatment is heartless.

Incredibly, Abbey was conceived naturally (and, we think, divinely).

But I have no doubt the lessons of 10 failed IVFs and associated surgery played a critical role in Jenny and I realising our dream. It has also given me first-hand insight into families who are seeking to become families.

The desire to have children is the most positive, life-affirming instinct we have as human beings.

This desire doesn't go away when you're told you cannot have children. The determination and sacrifice of families seeking to realise this dream by taking advantage of fertility treatments is nothing short of inspirational.

The feeling of loss at every failed attempt is indescribable. As others, removed from the emotional hell, rationalise the failure as "embryos failing to take", as parents we grieve the loss of children.

We console ourselves with the thought that one day, we'll be reunited with our unborn beyond this life.

Added to the physical and emotional torment is the pressure it places on fragile relationships.


My beautiful wife never gave up hope. Her ability to face disappointment time and again, then line up to put herself through it all again, qualifies her as mother of the year, a thousand times over.

Most families understand the sacrifice involved in having children after they have arrived, when it's accompanied by the joy of parenthood.

But for those going through fertility treatment, their first experience is only sacrifice - and for many, the joy never comes.

The pain of these experiences is not altered by your level of income, regardless of how little or how much you have. You do what you have to do to make it work.

For families going through this dark chapter of their lives, it's all-consuming - spiritually, emotionally, physically and financially. You question everything: God, each other, your priorities, your future - nothing escapes.

Along this road, you will find the wreckage of shattered lives, marriages and families. These are the risks we take.

I can think of no more deserving set of parents than a mother and father who would risk everything to bring their child into the world. That is an expression of love that more children in our community deserve to know.

It's clear from this year's budget that the Rudd government either just doesn't get it or just doesn't care.

Its decision to force these families to pay an extra $2000 per cycle of IVF treatment is heartless.

In addition to the incredible burden already being carried by these families, they have now been told they are undeserving of continuing support.

Kevin Rudd can seek to justify this any way he likes, but the truth is that it will quench the last flame of hope for many couples desperate for a family.

As one family receives their $900 in cash hand-outs, on top of thousands last year, another childless family will sit down and decide whether this is the end of their road.

The decision by the Rudd government betrays a complete inability to consider the human consequences of its actions.

In a Budget dripping with spending, following months or reckless largesse, infertile couples are being asked to pay the price.

The Prime Minister has sought to cast the measure as cracking down on overcharging doctors and undeserving families. This is as deceitful as it is insulting.

Were it not for the dedication, skill and professionalism of fertility specialists and surgeons, we wouldn't have our Abbey today and I mightn't have Jenny either. How do you put a price on that?

In a few weeks, Jenny and I will be blessed with our second child -- once again from natural conception, which often occurs in these situations.

Our story has a happy ending, but for many this will not be the case. I hope it offers hope to others.

Everyone who goes through this process knows the risks. What they shouldn't have to put up with is a Government that says they don't deserve our support.

By Scott Morrison MP, Federal Member for Cook

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