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Preconception Genetic Testing: Medicare Rebates Introduced

Posted on 17 November 2021

Preconception Genetic Testing Medicare Rebates Introduced


We are so excited and supportive of the Medicare Benefits Scheme announcement that medicare rebates can be accessed from November 1 2021 for Preconception Genetic Testing (PGT) in some circumstances.

What is PGT?

PGT involves the biopsy of embryos at the blastocyst stage. Embryos are then frozen while DNA extracted from biopsies cells are analysed for genetic errors.

When is PGT Medicare eligible?

PGT is now eligible for a medicare rebate in the following circumstances:

  1. Where a parent or parents have a known genetic mutation in a gene, that can result in a child at risk of serious genetic illness. This kind of testing is known as PGT-M, referring to testing for Monogenic diseases.
  2. Where a parent carries a structural rearrangement of a chromosome (translocation, deletion or inversion) meaning embryos created with their egg or sperm are at high risk of failing to implant or causing a miscarriage or the conception of a child with serious medical concerns. This kind of testing is known as PGT-R, referring to testing for chromosomal Rearrangements.

When is PGT NOT eligible for Medicare benefits?

Some women and couples choose to use PGT electively to check for random chromosomal aneuploidy (age related DNA imbalances, not inherited from parents, occurring randomly in embryos, becoming much more common, particularly with advancing parental age).

This kind of PGT is known as PGT-A, referring to chromosomal Aneuploidy.

PGT-A can advance the time to pregnancy and reduce risk of miscarriages, particularly for women aged over 37 years.

An alternative to PGT-A is sequential transfer of untested embryos created in IVF, with the same number of babies expected to result from a batch of embryos. PGT-A can be used electively to help couples achieve pregnancy faster, sometimes avoiding traumas of miscarriages and disappointment related to failed embryo transfer IVF cycles along the pathway of an IVF journey to parenthood.

This kind of testing is not eligible for Medicare funding under new funding announcements.

 


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