NEW statistics show that men have given birth to 54 babies in Australia in the last year.
Patients are allowed to nominate their own gender, The Daily Telegraph has reported. Medicare services are now available to patients regardless of gender.
“The department is aware of cases of persons identifying themselves as male having pregnancy related treatment which can be claimed under Medicare,” said a health department spokesperson.
“Previously these items could not be paid to male patients.”
Government guidelines came into place in 2013 to ensure all government departments and agencies recognise individuals can be identified as a gender other than that assigned at birth.
Accordingly, Medicare services including pregnancy management are now available to men.
“Individuals are now able to change their sex/gender to what they identify with,” said the health department spokesperson.
“This change reflects that some individuals while identifying themselves as male still require and are eligible for services previously only provided to people identified through their Medicare records as female (such as gynaecological services).”
Transgender Victoria spokesperson Sally Goldner said the statistics were not as surprising as they first may appear.
“Surgery for many people is costly, invasive, some people might not be able to have it for medical issues,” she said.
“I am not surprised in any way. People’s beliefs about body and gender identity have deep roots. Sometimes when that is questioned I can understand people have to think about it.”