With Infertility increasing globally, the need for fertility treatments are increasing year on year. And as medical schemes continue to offer little to no cover for treatment, (many of them having a blanket exclusion on infertility, right before listing participation in terrorist activity and wilful violation of the law!) rather than fair treatment for a recognised disease, the options to create one’s own family may be out of reach for many. When somebody becomes a member of a medical aid they do it for peace of mind that when diagnosed with a recognised disease entity the medical aid will support them with fair payment of treatment. This is however not always the case. At recent IFAASA seminars, Saskia Williams, Meggan Zunckel and Tarryn Jacobs touted for support from the many attendees.
The support received was overwhelming with over 600 proxy votes received for the annual Discovery Health AGM. Following the AGM, IFAASA was invited to a meeting with Discovery to discuss the issue of funding for infertility treatment. The meeting was positive and discussion will continue with both ourselves and SASREG.
South Africa has some of the highest rated IVF clinics in the world, many with over 20 years experience in using cutting edge technology to assist in achieving much longed for families. But many medical aids’ reluctance to consider fair cover for fertility treatments is making this avenue of hope inaccessible to many hopeful future parents.
These are very rocky times for South Africa’s many unhappy childless. Desperate couples will go to otherwise unimaginable lengths to pay for treatments anyway with many re-mortgaging homes or taking out significant personal loans.
Furthermore, in a desperate attempt to maximise the few treatment cycles that people can now afford, as many embryos as is allowed / possible are transferred per cycle, often resulting in multiple pregnancy. Ironically enough, not only does this trend increase the actual cost to the medical aids in for example NICU time, but the risks to mother and babies increase. And costs continue to accumulate for the medical aids with continued support and intervention into childhood for some of these children.
Meggan Zunckel, founder of IFAASA, recognises that women who badly want a child will do anything and that troubles her. “We need the medical aids to realise the benefit to themselves and their paying members by being a supporting rather than an opposing force in treating infertility” she says.
It is critical that members of medical aids investigate and understand the process required for payment of infertility tests and procedures. This information can be found on the IFAASA website at:
Empowering yourself with knowledge is the only tool members have to ensure that their medical aid works for them.