Tony Geritz and Michelle Badrick are battling with the effects of muscular dystrophy.
Tony Geritz and Michelle Badrick are battling with the effects of muscular dystrophy. Loretta Bryce

Couple's IVF hopes on super fund

LIFE has been less than kind to Maryborough couple Tony Geritz and Michelle Badrick since they found each other six years ago.

Michelle, 35, is a carrier of muscular dystrophy, an inherited muscle disease that causes progressive degeneration of voluntary muscles.

She is the mother of two daughters from a previous marriage but her three pregnancies with Tony have all ended in heartache with the loss of three little boys.

The middle child, Jacob, survived for three hours when born at 19 weeks.

Michelle’s brother was born with muscular dystrophy and lived to 26.

The couple has been advised that IVF is their best chance to bring a healthy child into the world at a cost of about $10,000.

An article in That’s Life magazine alerted them to the possibility of funding the procedure with their superannuation contributions but their application to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority for early release of funding has been knocked back.

The application was supported by documentation from their doctor, a genetic counsellor and federal member for Wide Bay Warren Truss. Mr Truss also supported the couple’s appeal to the Minister for Financial Services, Superannuation and Corporate Law, Chris Bowen – an appeal which has not been rewarded.

“No one wants to listen to us. We just want to draw money out of our super fund so we can have a child together,” Mr Geritz said.

“I’m not rich and famous, so no one seems to care.”

Mr Geritz, 38, has just returned to work at the mines after the global financial crisis left him without work for six months.

An APRA spokesman said the authority only administers what is in the legislation and that the final decision is up to the trustee of a superannuation fund.

A spokesperson for Chris Bowen said APRA may approve the release of benefits for medical treatment only where the funds are required to treat a life-threatening illness or injury, or to alleviate acute or chronic pain or acute or chronic mental disturbance.

“Balancing the integrity of the superannuation system as a genuine means of income support in retirement against the needs of individuals over their life cycle is very difficult, and, unfortunately, it is impossible to anticipate every eventuality.”



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