Partner Content, Provided with the support of Genea
Cost is an important factor for many people thinking about IVF, but one of Australia’s most well-known fertility specialists says there is more than meets the eye when reviewing the cost of treatment.
Patients should look carefully at the technology used in labs and the personalised care offered by clinics to truly understand and compare associated costs.
“Low-cost IVF models introduced in Australia don’t always represent a low cost to society. They may actually come at a higher price per baby to Medicare and cost the Australian healthcare system, taxpayers and patients a lot more than anticipated,” says Associate Professor Mark Bowman Medical Director at Genea.
We sat down with Dr Bowman to understand how low cost treatment could impact patients – financially, physically, and emotionally and therefore what to look for in a clinic.
You may not even need IVF
Consider a clinic that isn’t just about IVF. If a clinic can get patients pregnant without invasive and expensive treatment, money will be saved. Help doesn’t always mean IVF. Genea takes an individual approach and develops personalised treatment plans for each patient. As well as offering IVF, Genea also offers services such as ovulation tracking and ovulation induction to facilitate natural conception. In fact, 50% of patients who see a Genea Fertility Specialist don’t require IVF.
And, ask yourself the following question: If a low cost IVF unit has apparently good success rates could this be because the results included a lot of patients who actually didn’t need IVF in the first place?
Look for the best science
So, if you do require IVF, you need to understand the importance of selecting a clinic that offers the best science and leading processes to offer value for money and reduce the number of stimulated cycles required to achieve a pregnancy. “At Genea, through the use of leading technology in the lab, we maximise the potential a patient has of having a baby in the least number of stimulated cycles and therefore offers a saving to the patient and Medicare,” says Bowman. Genea’s patients benefit from success rates that are amongst the best in the world and continually improving. 8 out of 10 patients who started treatment elsewhere wish they came to Genea first.
One Cycle, One Family?
It’s a phrase you hear used amongst the best clinics, but what do they mean? What are they aspiring to and why? Put simply, ideally, if a patient arrives at a top clinic and requires IVF treatment, clinicians will prescribe a stimulation cycle, whereby they stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs. “At Genea, we aim to do one egg and sperm collection and from this one stimulation cycle, create enough good quality embryos for the patients to complete their family.”
Bowman adds, “It’s the egg collection, with the hormone injections, day surgery procedure and cost – that is the greatest impost to the woman. In contrast, the subsequent use of frozen embryos is simple, often drug free and not so expensive.” For a frozen cycle, after a little monitoring, patients arrive for an embryo transfer (as simple as a pap smear) at the right time in their menstrual cycle. Bowman adds that reducing the number of stimulation cycles lessens costs and provides significant emotional benefits to patients.
The importance of personalised treatment plans
As we mentioned, personalised treatment plans, whereby clinicians really review individual patients and their needs, mean doctors may not even need to look to IVF, presenting a saving. But if IVF is prescribed, care makes a huge difference to outcomes. “We stimulate ovaries at the right time, with the right drugs, we collect the eggs on the ideal day for the patient and we offer world leading instruments and scientific excellence in our laboratories to help create the maximum possible number of good quality embryos,” Bowman explains.
Recently, Genea announced an IVF breakthrough. The new version of the culture medium Gems (the solution that embryos grow in)when combined with the clinic’s Geri incubator (the machine the embryos grow in), has seen an increase of 46.7% in the number of high grade embryos per cycle, when compared to the traditional culture media system. Available exclusively to patients of Genea, the new technologies significantly reduce the need for disturbance during the vital stages of an embryo’s development, leading to- on average- more embryos per IVF attempt.
While low-cost IVF may appear to be a convenient solution, the number of IVF cycles required to achieve conception can add up financially, and the nature of the treatment can take an unexpected personal toll.
When considering your IVF options, be aware that what appears to be low cost up front may not be the most cost-effective, or emotionally-effective option for you and your family.
For more in this series see, What Australian Women know about Fertility; Exercise, Diet, and other Factors to Consider when it comes to Fertility; What you should know about Egg Freezing; The key Stats to know about Fertility.
Speak with a Genea’s Fertility Advisor on 1300 361 795 or book a Free Fertility Assessment.