The Andrews Labor Government is cracking down on unscrupulous IVF providers who prey on Victorians accessing IVF and peddle false hope about their chances of starting a family.
Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos today announced the Health Complaints Commissioner has been asked to launch an inquiry into dodgy, dangerous and unethical practices by IVF providers.
The inquiry follows a landmark review of Assisted Reproductive Services, which found some people accessing IVF services had fallen victim to rogue, heartless operators. Allegations include a doctor knowingly transferring an unviable embryo into a patient.
In one case, clinicians are accused of failing to disclose equipment failures, and instead led patients to believe their embryos had succumbed naturally.
While many IVF providers do the right thing and help Victorians achieve their dreams of starting a family, there are some who fail to be upfront about success rates or costs.
“IVF can be a long, emotional and unpredictable journey – for many it results in joy, but for others, they are taken advantage of and peddled false hope,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.
“We’ll make sure that those providers who peddle lies and play with people’s emotions are caught and pay the price,” said Mr Andrews.
The inquiry will help uncover the dangerous and unethical practices being used, and will recommend the appropriate steps to protect patients. People who have accessed or are accessing IVF services will have a chance to have their say over their experiences as part of a wide-ranging consultation process.
The Commissioner will deliver a final report to the Government by the end of the year, as well as referring any matters of false, misleading and deceptive conduct to Consumer Affairs Victoria. Penalties will also be increased so IVF providers pay the price if they are caught doing the wrong thing.
The Labor Government is delivering on its commitment to make sure more Victorians can become a parent through IVF, without the high costs, with public IVF services – bulk billed and subsidised for low-income Victorians.
“The majority of IVF practitioners do the right thing, but we know some are taking advantage of vulnerable Victorians. We’re cracking down on them and we’ll weed them out of the system,” Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos said.
The Government is investing $32 million for the provision of public services, which will also pave the way for regional Victorians to have better access to IVF services. An IVF cycle can cost up to $15,000. About 13,000 Victorians were treated at IVF clinics in the last financial year.