Infertile Australians are being offered a new discounted model of IVF, which can be thousands of dollars cheaper but offers a lower chance of success, according to a recent Sydney Morning Herald news story.
Virtus Health has launched new low-cost clinics called The Fertility Centre in lower-income suburbs of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
In response to the story, Director of Westmead Fertility Centre (WFC), Dr Howard Smith said that WFC operated on a cost recovery basis and still offered IVF at a more affordable cost than the recently advertised ‘discounted model’ clinics.
“We offer a full and comprehensive IVF treatment service to all couples. We do not need to omit specific treatment aspects or options simply in order to offer an affordable service,” Dr Smith said.
According to the story, the newly-established centres did not ‘give people a choice of doctor or the use of more sophisticated technology such as embryo freezing’.
Dr Smith said that at WFC there was no additional charge for embryo freezing and storage for up to two years.
“Embryo freezing has allowed many couples treated at WFC to have two or more children in subsequent singleton pregnancies, from one IVF cycle.
“Freezing of embryos is also of great value in another situation. For IVF to be successful, we require a high quality embryo AND, at the same time, a uterus suitable for embryo implantation. In some women these two conditions do not occur in the same cycle. The availability of embryo freezing allows these conditions to be achieved in a later cycle.”
Dr Smith added that when considering the suitability of a clinic for your treatment needs, it was important to note that Westmead Fertility Centre had been in continuous operation for almost 30 years.
“During this time WFC has been an accredited teaching and training centre for fertility specialists. New procedures and treatments are regularly added to our IVF programme on the basis of scientific evaluation and research,” Dr Smith said.