I was encouraged to learn that Australian IVF clinics are currently being investigated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to ensure they are not misleading women about their chances of success.
Since the fertility industry stopped publishing the live birth rates of different IVF clinics, it has become almost impossible for consumers to measure their chances of actually having a baby.
The media is full of stories of women who have spent thousands of dollars – often as much as $100,000 or more – to fulfil their dream of having a baby. For people spending the equivalent of their life savings on an industry shrouded from regulatory oversight, an obvious concern is the level of consumer protection available particularly given the paucity of information available about likelihood of success.
According to this article in the Age , the latest statistics (published at the end of 2014) indicate that results of live birth outcomes following IVF procedures varied from 4 per cent at one clinic to 30.9 per cent at another. That’s a huge discrepancy for the sums of money involved and clients have no way of knowing the success rate of their chosen clinic. Clients often fear repercussions if they raise concerns or make a complaint. They are concerned that they will be denied access to IVF in the future and be left without a chance to start their family.
It is heartening to see that finally the consumer watchdog is taking notice of the potential for exploitation in this area.
- An example of the high financial and emotional price of having an IVF baby.
- Last week’s article about the ACCC investigations
- International egg donors travelling to Australia to fulfil the need here.
- The lack of transparency about IVF clinic success rates, highlighted last year.