Page URL: https://www.bionews.org.uk/page_92326

IVF costs increasing Australian multiple births

10 May 2010
Appeared in BioNews 557

Rising IVF costs may drive up Australian multiple birth rates and put women's health at risk, according to some clinical specialists.

Recent Medicare funding changes mean that, according to experts, each IVF cycle is now $1,500 more expensive. They claim this could drive IVF patients to ask for more embryos to be implanted per cycle to increase the likelihood of success.

IVF Australia Medical Director Peter Illingworth said: 'Ideally we would like to put one embryo in at a time because of those risks, but we are getting more pressure from patients to do two'.

'They're saying, we understand that it's more dangerous but we can't afford to do another cycle so we'll have two embryos put back and we'll deal with the consequences. If our baby ends up born at 32 weeks and has to have eight weeks in intensive care, well Medicare pays for that', said Gab Kovacs, International Medical Director at Monash IVF, Melbourne.

Other clinicians claim the increased charges are putting couples off having a second IVF baby.

Dr Anne Clark, Medical Director of Fertility First in Sydney, said: 'while some patients asked for more than a single-embryo transfer more opted out of having a second child through IVF'.

The Australian health minister capped the amount the Government pays to IVF patients from January 2010 after a review found specialists were exploiting the system by changing excessive fees. They claimed patients should be no worse off but, subsequently, clinics have further increased charges.

Multiple birth pregnancies carry various health risks, including an increased risk to the mother of pre-eclampsia, hypertension and diabetes compared with singletons. Health risks to the baby include premature birth, below-normal birth weight and even foetal death.

Although the Australian multiple birth rate has fallen in recent years, there is no official data released since this policy change.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Changes in IVF cost made hopeful couples in more financial stress
International Business Times |  4 May 2010
Multiple births to cash-strapped IVF mums on rise
The Sydney Morning Herald |  2 May 2010
RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE
3 October 2011 - by Julianna Photopoulos 
The Australian gynaecologist and pioneer of IVF, Professor Carl Wood, has died at the age of 82 after his long battle with Alzheimer's disease...
16 May 2011 - by Chris Chatterton 
The UK's fertility regulator published a report last Thursday that it says indicates its success at reducing multiple births from fertility treatment by promoting elective single embryo transfer (eSET)....
21 June 2010 - by Kyrillos Georgiadis 
Gynaecologists in Holland can now refuse access to IVF treatment to women they deem to be unsuitable. This includes those who have 'unstable relationships or serious psychological problems....
9 June 2010 - by Sarah Pritchard 
Data recently obtained by the Sunday Times newspaper, via a Freedom of Information Act enquiry to the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), show that an average of 80 pregnancies achieved through IVF treatment are terminated each year....
21 December 2009 - by Dr Vivienne Raper 
The NHS must improve access to IVF, according to a new policy briefing from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN)...
30 November 2009 - by Nisha Satkunarajah 
All patients undergoing assisted reproductive treatments may be screened for diseases between each cycle, potentially leading to massive cost implications, under a new interpretation of European Union rules on tissue and cell donation proposed by the European Commission....
HAVE YOUR SAY
Log in to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.