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Are IVF Clinics Offering Australian Women False Hope?

A new investigation raises questions about the self-regulated fertility industry

Some IVF clinics may be misleading Australian women about their chances of having a successful birth.

An investigation by the ABC’s Four Corners revealed that the “self-regulating” fertility sector is putting money ahead of patients, by encouraging women to undergo costly procedures, with little or no chance of giving birth to a healthy child.

Data obtained by Four Corners shows a woman over 40, using her own eggs, has very little chance of having a live birth through IVF. Yet the number of Australian women over 40 using IVF has nearly tripled in the last decade.

Australia has no age limit on subsidised fertility treatments, which cost Medicare more than $250 million last year alone.

A woman aged 41-42 using an initiated cycle – the most common IVF treatment – has just a 5.8 per cent chance of having a live birth. For women over 45, that chance drops to just 1.1 per cent.

Four Corners also argues some women are getting IVF treatments they don’t actually need, and could raise their chances of pregnancy by understanding their fertility cycle, losing weight or exercising more.

Furthermore, some “snake oil” fertility specialists were even shown to be up-selling patients ‘complementary’ treatments, like blood thinners or extra hormones. These were being marketed as a way for clinics to stand out from competition, without any evidence they were effective.

Questions to Ask Your IVF Doctor

  • Are you a fertility specialist, and what experience do you have in the area?
  • Will you be investigating to find the cause of our infertility?
  • What options are available to us, other than IVF?
  • If we undergo IVF, what is our chance of having a single

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