Bulk-Billed IVF Myths

Bulk-billing myth 1: Bulk-billing clinics are public, while full-cost clinics are private. 

Let’s clear up the biggest misconception first. Most bulk-billed IVF clinics are actually private clinics. There are a few public fertility clinics, typically associated with public hospitals, but most bulk-billed clinics are privately run. Bulk-billing is simply a pricing structure that some private clinics choose to offer in order to reduce the total and up-front costs payable by their patients.

Bulk-billing myth 2: All bulk-billing clinics are the same.

There is a perception that because a particular clinic does something one way, all bulk-billing clinics do. Private bulk-billing clinics can choose what services they provide and how. For example, some clinics that bulk-bill may perform egg retrieval under a local anaesthetic only; others, like Adora, perform it under general anaesthesia. Some clinics bulk-bill everything covered by Medicare, while others may bulk-bill only select services.

Bulk-billing myth 3: Bulk-billed clinics follow a standard protocol, with lower doses of medications and less personalisation.

Each clinic is different. Some clinics may seek to provide services at the lowest expense possible, which may involve a standardised treatment protocol. Some synchronise treatment start dates through contraceptives. At Adora Fertility, your treatment is led and monitored by a highly-qualified Fertility Specialist who will design the best possible treatment plan for your specific circumstances, with no one standard treatment plan, medication dose, or treatment start date. 

Bulk-billing myth 4: Bulk-billed IVF has long wait times.

Wait times vary, and certain times of the year are busier than others. Still, at Adora Fertility, patients will typically have their first meeting with a Fertility Specialist within a month. If you need to see one of our GP’s, you can typically do so within two weeks. 

Bulk-billing myth 5: Bulk-billed clinics have lower success rates

Since the launch of the website yourivfsuccess.com.au, the work has been taken out of comparing clinics success rates – have a look for yourself. That said, there is a number of factors that can impact success rates, like whether donor sperm services are included in that statistic (typically used by women who have no known fertility issues and are likely to experience a high degree of success through IVF).

Bulk-billing myth 6: Bulk-billed IVF is for ‘simple’ cases only

There is a perception that bulk-billed clinics don’t offer treatment for more complex cases, such as patients with endometriosis or those requiring surgical sperm retrieval for severe male factor infertility. At Adora, our Specialists are equipped to treat complex fertility cases.

In some complex cases, for example, if the parents are identified as carriers of a genetic disease, they may need to attend a clinic that offers genetic testing. There is a Medicare rebate for single gene defects to prevent specific genetic diseases being passed on to the next generation. However, Medicare does not currently provide a rebate for PGT-A (correct chromosome number) as it has not been proven to improve pregnancy rates. While this means that PGT-A is not eligible to be bulk-billed, some clinics may offer this service as a non-bulk billed add on. Donor services also do not attract a Medicare rebate, and therefore must be paid out of pocket. Clinics are also required to hold a licence to offer donor services.

Choosing a fertility clinic

Choosing a fertility clinic is a very personal decision, and many factors need to be considered when making a decision. For most people, the cost will rank high among these. When considering IVF, it is important to note that it will likely require multiple cycles. According to VARTA, Victoria’s statutory authority on assisted reproductive technologies, a 36-37-year-old woman has a 50% chance of having a baby after three cycles of IVF, a 44% chance after two cycles, and a 32% chance after one cycle. Many couples overestimate their likelihood of a successful pregnancy after a single cycle and underestimate the total cost of achieving a successful pregnancy. 

To make a decision, it’s important to look at each clinic as a whole, including the services they offer, their success rates, their Fertility Specialists & support staff, their accessibility and wait times, as well as their costs, to decide on the clinic that’s right for you.