19 January 2022

Industry support for Victorian patients affected by suspension of IVF treatment

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Virtus Health

Australia’s two largest fertility providers, Monash IVF and Melbourne IVF (part of Virtus Health), welcome the statements made yesterday by the Victorian Acting Premier James Merlino that: “We [the Victorian Government] are going to do everything we possibly can to resume IVF services as quickly as possible”.

While it is acknowledged that this is a difficult time for everyone, the IVF industry seeks that the three-month ban of certain IVF treatments be reconsidered because of the devastating effect on patients who cannot afford to wait for time-critical treatment.

More than 100,000 people have signed a petition calling for IVF treatment to be reinstated in Victoria, after it was suspended last week for three months due to rising COVID 19 cases in the state.

Fertility Society of Australia President and Monash IVF Medical Director, Professor Luk Rombauts, said the industry had offered to work with health authorities to find a way forward.

“While we understand the need not to add extra pressure on the health system during this difficult time, we can’t ignore the anguish and heartache that this has caused to so many of our Victorian patients,” Professor Rombauts said.

“It is particularly difficult for those patients who do not have time on their side, due to factors such as age and health conditions which are out of their control.”

“For some an extended period of time without IVF treatment may mean they will not achieve a pregnancy at all.”

Melbourne IVF Medical Director Dr Fleur Cattrall said IVF had continued safely in Victoria during six lockdowns. 

“Victorian infertility patients have endured 260 days of lockdown and during this time, IVF treatment was allowed to continue.”

“It’s been devasting to tell Victorian patients that they can’t start their IVF treatment for the next three months. They are heartbroken and in utter disbelief as most of them are returning to normal life again and shocked that they can’t start their time critical fertility treatment.”

“Many of these patients have already endured years of infertility struggles. Studies show the psychological impacts of living with infertility are comparable to the stress levels of patients diagnosed with cancer.”

Both Dr Cattrall & Professor Rombauts agreed: “Acting Premier Merlino’s statements yesterday will give patients some comfort, however we would welcome an opportunity to meet with the Minister to provide reassurance that IVF treatment can continue in a COVID safe manner and without impacting on the current public health response to the pandemic.”

We strongly believe the current ban on IVF procedures is not the right path to take, as so many women and couples rely on IVF in order to have a family.  Despite also suspending elective surgery, other states have allowed IVF and other fertility service to continue operating as normal.

Existing patients should continue to attend appointments, where they can, or use widely available telehealth services. They should have any tests and scans recommended by their specialists to avoid any further delays and disruptions.

New patients should also continue to make appointments with fertility specialists, undergo fertility health assessments and obtain a diagnosis.  Patients should contact their fertility provider for further information about their treatment options and, if necessary, access available counselling and support services. 

Media Contacts:
Angela Read 
Angela.read@virtushealth.com.au
0428 448 719

About Virtus Health 
Virtus Health Limited is the largest provider of fertility services in Australia, Ireland, Denmark as well as having a strong presence in the UK & Singapore.  Virtus Health brings together leading clinicians, scientists, researchers and support staff; offering exceptional fertility care, fertility diagnostic services, reproductive genetics and specialist day hospital services. Virtus Health fertility clinics in Australia include Melbourne IVF, IVF Australia, Queensland Fertility Group and TasIVF. We provide important services to local communities with the support & capability of a global network.  Learn more about us at virtushealth.com.

About Monash IVF Group 
Monash IVF have been providing leading reproductive care for 50 years. Our team includes experienced fertility specialists, genetic counsellors, scientists, obstetricians, gynaecologists, ultrasound technicians, donor and surrogacy experts and nursing teams, all of whom are passionate about supporting people throughout their entire fertility journey. We offer holistic, integrated care from pre-conception health assessments to genetic testing and counselling through to fertility treatment options, and even ultrasound services. We’re with you every step of the way. Learn more about us and the services we provide at monashivf.com

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