It is not such a widely known fact that you can access your superannuation for IVF. Heck, you can even access your parents’ super if they want to help for a grandchild. This is the route that Alee and I have opted to take for our upcoming cycle. We’ve exhausted all other options and spent tens of thousands of dollars over the past few years to have Oakland. Literally our last option remaining now is to use my super.
So here is me, thinking ‘oh yeah, I got this!’ because I read the instructions on the Department of Human Services website (that is the link to early super release. I’ve got your back guys). For release on compassionate grounds it needs to be either acute/chronic pain or acute/chronic mental illness. Well, they are pretty fucking sparse with the details so I went down the chronic pain due to endo trail. I got my letter signed by the GP and my letter signed by a specialist, assuming it meant of course my fertility specialist. I had all my quotes, IVF cycle quote, day surgery quote, anaesthetist quote etc. I submitted everything and sat back thinking I had nailed it.The assessment should take 14-28 days. Well, after 5 weeks I called them to see wtf. After being on hold forever, a woman finally answered then tells me they somehow missed my application. Don’t quite know what that means or how that actually happens, however she was incredibly apologetic and said she would put it through now to their specialist team as a priority, so it should take up to 48 hours. 3 days later I call to see again, wtf. Same deal and then I am told my priority application was missed! This was getting a bit fucking ridiculous however she put it through as another priority, which meant another 48 hours. Finally, after what was now maybe 6ish weeks I get my answer. Fucking rejected mate! The lady on the phone was so lovely and explained I needed to prove my infertility was causing acute/chronic mental illness, as IVF is technically not a treatment for endo pain, however it is a treatment for depression and anxiety if they are caused by my infertility. She said the specialist letter would need to be a psychiatrist.
Enter round 2- I found myself a bulk billing psychiatrist, got all my shit in order, submitted my application online the day I had my psych appointment and figured I would upload his signed form that same night. Well how fucking wrong I was. This guy was an absolute knob of the highest degree. I was straight up with him, handed him the form, explained what was happening and he started to tell me how he was worried that if he signed it my IVF doctor may refuse treatment as I was mentally unwell. I explained that isn’t his concern and that my IVF doctor was well aware of what I was doing. He then said if he didn’t say I was depressed enough that it may be rejected, but he didn’t want to say I was too depressed, again in case my IVF doc didn’t want me to cycle. I tried to show him the space on the form, all four lines, where all he needed to write was depression and anxiety due to infertility and in the next box where it asked what treatment was required, he just needed to write IVF. When I say four lines, I don’t even mean four entire page width lines, the page is split into two columns, it is the tiniest little gap. My GP actually had to write under the box to fit those few words in. Anyway, this idiot said he would sign it, however he needed two days to speak with colleagues to see what to write. Two days go by and I hear nothing so I call the clinic. He isn’t working that day, fucking convenient mate. The next day I call, he isn’t in. I left a rather pissy message and then he calls me back. I was standing in the middle of the baby expo in Brisbane, surrounded by hundreds of people when he tells me he is refusing to sign the form. In his opinion I am just not depressed enough. That was it. I lost it. I started bawling in the middle of the expo and then attempted to keep my composure while I explained to him that if he didn’t sign it I could guarantee that he would be seeing me in a couple of weeks and I would incredibly depressed. I once again tried to explain that the form doesn’t have a scale for him to mark my level of anxiety and depression, either I am, or I am not. I told him Centrelink and their specialist team make that assessment, not him. We argued back and forth and he would not budge. He then told me the clinic would call me and I could see another psych.
Do you think they called me? NUP! So I rang back, this time demanding to speak to the practice manager to complain. Had he told me in our hour long session he was not going to sign it, fair enough. But no, he told me he WOULD sign it, he just needed to know what to write. How can you tell someone one thing then take it back? To me that is malpractice. Especially when you are a psychiatrist dealing with mentally ill and possibly suicidal patients. Imagine if he said/did that to the wrong patient and that was enough to tip them over the edge? Anyway, the practice manager was unavailable (this happens a lot at this clinic) but would call me the following day. The next day, no fucking call. So I call them and they tell me she has just left but will definitely call me the following day. The following day- No.Fucking.Call. So I rang that afternoon and they said she called me. I assured them I had no missed calls . They then read out the number and it was Alee’s! Considering the psych managed to call me, pretty sure they know my number. Anyway, assurance again that I will be called. This shit went on for 5-6 days, no fucking joke! The bitch dodged me for a week. I finally get a phone call and it is the head administrator with a message from the practice manager “we recommend you see a female psychiatrist at another clinic”. So basically after a week of bullshit they palm me off so I can be someone else’s problem. Also, are they basically saying they don’t believe their male psychs are capable of dealing with female patients living with infertility? Because I sure as fuck didn’t see the sign declaring that when I rocked up. Anywayyy, enough of that utter bullshit. That asshat can go eat a dick for all I care.
There is a happy ending to this post though! After Alee’s post went viral Monash IVF (whom we used for Oakland) contacted us. After I spoke with a totally amazing woman named Morgan (hi Morgan, we love you by the way!) and told her the shit we had literally just been through that week she made a few phone calls. They wanted to help! She had a beautiful woman Lisa call me. Lisa we love you as well, you have been amazing! Lisa works at a company called Supercare. Their role is assist people in accessing their super on compassionate grounds, including for IVF, by basically doing the whole application for you and taking the stress out of it completely. On top of that they have recommended psychs that are familiar with the forms required so they won’t dick you around because they actually know what they are doing. You basically give them your information, which takes no time at all, and they will do the rest. Lisa has been so great in keeping me informed as to where my application is at with DHS and is regularly following up with them. I am anxiously awaiting the response as obviously nothing is 100% guaranteed at this point in time, however Supercare have a pretty damn good track record and Lisa was very thorough in ensuring that DHS have everything they could possibly need which has really made all this a lot easier for us.
So that is where we are at right now. I’ve touched base with Monash and signed all our forms for our next cycle. Everything is literally ready to go, we are just waiting on the green light from DHS. This Two Week Wait is almost as bad as the TWW after an embryo transfer! IVF is literally all about waiting. You wait for everything. In the meantime, everyone cross all limbs for us that this is approved!