Pregnant women will be able to insure their unborn babies against birth defects and death under a new policy, a report said Sunday.
The insurance company ING has devised a baby policy for women aged 16 to 40 which will deliver payouts of up to 50,000 dollars (46,640 US) for babies born with Down's syndrome, spina bifida or a cleft palate, the Sun-Herald said.
A stillborn baby could get a 10,000-dollar payout while women who suffered complications during pregnancy or birth could also be awarded a pay-out, it said.
ING spokesman Mark Vilo said the new policy allowed the company to match up with "social trends and advances in medical technology," the paper said.
"Every woman in the process of having a child knows the risks," he said.
"We don't make people undergo genetic testing to find out things they don't want to."
"With the median age of new mums now nearly 31, (up from 27 in 1985), the risk of pregnancy complications and birth defects increases dramatically," ING said on its website.
"For a women aged 35 or more the risk of stillborn is 1 in 440, as opposed to 1 in 1,000 for younger women."
The policy drew criticism from the New South Wales Midwives Association, which said it played on the fears of pregnant women.
"It is making women think about the terrible things that can happen when the reality is there are very few mothers who suffer from complications during pregnancy," secretary Dr Hannah Dahlen told the Sun-Herald.
"It is marketing fear and uncertainty when women are vulnerable during pregnancy."
But Investment and Financial Services Association head Richard Gilbert said it made sense to have appropriate insurance.
"Some people will think it's not ethical but the cost of covering for a disability is monstrous and that's why people will look at this," he said.