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The Real Cost of Cut-Price IVF

The problem with bulk billed IVF

Australians are rightfully proud of their universal healthcare system, one which consistently ranks top 10 in the world. Medicare helps many Australians access doctors, specialists and other allied health professionals while also providing access to low-cost prescriptions and free public healthcare.

One of the tenets of the Medicare system is bulk billing, which covers most or all of the costs for many medical appointments, services and treatments. While bulk billing is undoubtedly a good thing, its application in several specialised areas can be problematic.

For couples and women looking to start a family, the lure of cut-price and bulk billed IVF can almost be too much; however, those considering this low-priced IVF treatment could pay the price with poor quality of treatment, hours of wasted time and ultimately, a lost opportunity to start a family.

What the Professionals Say about Bulk Billed IVF

Bulk billed and cut-priced IVF is undeniably accessible and its supporters claim that it gives many women the chance to start families who would otherwise be financially unable.

It’s true that IVF can be expensive – the process often involves several cycles of treatment and the treatment itself is highly specialised. However, it’s this specialised level of treatment that is crucial to IVF success for families.

Professor Michael Chapman, the head of the Fertility Association of Australia, has publicly voiced several concerns against IVF clinics. Among his criticisms, Professional Chapman says that these clinics are foregoing diagnosis and directing patients straight into IVF when there are “many other treatments that are available”.

“Limiting [IVF] to the people who actually need it is very important and that selection of patients is something I have concerns about”, he said.

As well as this, Professor Chapman says he has treated patients from cheap clinics with Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) – this is a reaction to IVF drugs that can put both the mother and developing child in serious danger.

What You Get from Private Care

More important than demonising cut-price clinics is understanding the benefits that every woman and couple receives from private IVF treatment and care. The advantages include:

Consistency in Service

With private IVF, you can choose your doctor and remain their patient for the course of the treatment. With IVF often stretching over several cycles, this consistency can be the difference between success and failure. Seeing a private specialist who knows you means you’ll receive tailored treatments based on what works for you. Every IVF experience is different and having a single specialist to guide you can make a big difference.

Experience Handling Difficult Cases

Generally speaking, bulk billing IVF clinics will not accept difficult and complicated cases. This includes patients with a BMI over 33 and many other severe cases of infertility.

As well as this, most patients should not want a bulk billing clinic handling their difficult case. While an individual practitioner may be sufficiently skilled, the conditions and available resources can make treating these patients difficult in a bulk billing environment.

The Bigger Picture – from Investigation to Conception and Delivery

IVF treatment does not stand alone in addressing infertility. The entire process involves investigations, conception, delivery and a range of other factors that fall outside standard IVF. A bulk billing IVF clinic may be able to offer the standard treatment but they will refer you for anything outside this scope. For example:

  • If you need a laparoscopy investigation to explore Tubal Factor Infertility (infertility due to the fallopian tubes), a bulk billing clinic would need to refer you to a specialist, involving significant wait times and extra costs.
  • If you are already under the care of a private IVF specialist such as Dr Alex Polyakov, you can have this and other additional treatments streamlined. Similarly, if Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) or other methods may be beneficial for you, he can integrate these into your treatment. Private care with Dr Alex covers all aspects of your treatment, from diagnosis to conception, IVF to delivery.

Talk to Dr Alex Polyakov in East Melbourne

If you’re considering starting a family and have experienced fertility problems, we implore you to make an appointment with Dr Alex. Explaining every step of the process, Dr Alex will ensure you receive the best specialist fertility treatment and explore every possible option – including but not limited to In Vitro Fertilisation.

New patients can find information here, you can get in touch online, or you can call Dr Alex Polyakov and his team on 03 9998 6093.