In Vitro Fertilisation, known more commonly as IVF, is a procedure that can assist couples who are experiencing a range of fertility issues. It works by joining an egg and sperm together outside of the body in a laboratory. The fertilised egg then grows in a protected environment prior to being transferred into the woman’s uterus increasing the chance of a pregnancy.
According to a 2018 report by UNSW, 14,355 babies were born through IVF treatment performed in Australia in 2018, representing almost 1 in 20 babies. This was up from 13,752 IVF babies in 2017, showing the gradual increase in use and popularity for families in Australia. Analyses of Medicare data shows a 12% increase on IVF in Australia compared with pre-COVID figures.
Having children and building a family is a huge goal for many people, however these modalities don’t come without their costs, and unfortunately for many couples it can be just too far out of their price range.
While there are emotional tolls, there are also a range of financial charges that IVF brings including paying for the following services:
- Consultations with fertility specialists
- Investigations or tests required such as semen analysis
- Fertility treatment and the medications required to facilitate
- Depending on your circumstances, advanced scientific techniques such as access to a donor programme, or pre-implantation genetic testing)
There’s then the day surgery and anaesthetist fees, the ongoing costs such as annual egg storage fees, and if the first round of IVF is unsuccessful the entire thing starts again. Each person’s IVF journey will be different, and you may need multiple rounds before you conceive successfully, meaning there’s no way to estimate how out of pocket you truly may be.
When it comes to funding these procedures, any of the fertility treatments can attract a rebate from Medicare and The Medicare Safety Net can provide additional rebates when you’re faced with large medical expenses. If you have some superannuation you’d like to draw on, IVFAustralia offers ‘SuperCare’, an external provider that assists people undertaking IVF to access superannuation to cover their medical costs.
According to health insurance industry group, Members Own, one IVF cycle may cost between $9,000-$15,000, not including ovulation induction or IVF-related medication. The out-of-pocket expense after a Medicare rebate could be around $4,600. According to Canstar, the other costs where a Medicare rebate may not be available include:
- Freezing embryos: $820 for 12 months of storage (and then an extra $37 per embryo per month) or $550 for six months of storage.
- Freezing sperm: $450 for six months of storage (and then $37 per sperm sample per month).
- Surgical sperm collection: $675-$850.
One option that’s surfaced is Connect IVF, Australia’s new fully bulk billed IVF clinic. During the pandemic, they have continued to adapt their services to ensure patients can continue their IVF journey through COVID-19 lockdown by seeing patients in the clinic, via tele-health and in their embryology lab.
CEO of Connect IVF, Brendan Ayres, said “research and literature for years has shown that the best pathway to IVF parenthood is to do more IVF cycles. Through offering bulk-billed IVF, Connect IVF allows patients to do as many cycles as medically appropriate to optimise their chances of starting a family.”