An insurance company is offering Australian women what may be a world's first: cover for expectant mothers unlucky enough to give birth to babies with disabilities, the dpa reported.
Brendan Nelson, a former doctor and leader of the opposition in Parliament, on Sunday welcomed the initiative.
"If people want to buy insurance in relation to having a baby and insure against catastrophic events in the process of giving birth to a child, then they should be free to do so," he told reporters.
The policies are offered to women aged 16-40 and provide payouts for defects such as Down's Syndrome, spina bifida and blindness. Women who suffer ectopic pregnancies, or who lose their babies to stillbirth, can also claim.
Financial Services Association head Richard Gilbert said insurers were "targeting what they see as segments of opportunities and this is one."
The initiative is partly a response to the increasing incidence of older first-time mothers. The average age for new mothers is 30, up from 27 in 1985.