Making well-informed decisions

Sunday 1 June, 2014

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Weighing up the risks and potential benefits of your fertility options can be a confusing and complex process. You may feel that everything is happening too fast.

Understanding your fertility options and considering the pros and cons of each option may help you feel like you’ve made a well-informed decision.

People don’t always feel completely sure when making tough decisions. Keeping a journal or blog about your experience may help you come to a decision and review and reflect on your feelings later. You may also want to talk to a fertility counsellor or health professional.

Financial considerations

Fertility treatments can be expensive, and this may be a factor in your decision. Costs vary across states and between organisations. Ask your doctor about any Medicare rebates and talk to your provider if you have private health insurance.

"When fertility came up, it was abrupt: ‘Because of the cancer, we need to talk about this now’. I had to face it, despite the fact that there were a zillion other things going on. It was a frantic and stressful time, but looking back, I’m glad that I allowed myself to get the information I needed and could make an informed decision about it." - Becky 

The three main costs for fertility treatment

Initial fertility specialist consultation and pre-treatment tests

You need a referral from your GP or a specialist gynaecologist/obstetrician to be eligible for Medicare rebates. A referral should list both you and your partner, to enable you to claim the maximum benefit.

The procedure (e.g. IVF cycle/day surgery)

This can cost up to $2000, but the fees will depend on the procedure and if you are a public or private patient.

There may be Medicare rebates for various IVF or ICSI procedures, including blood tests, fertility specialist consultations and medication. Although there is no Medicare rebate for private day surgery procedures, some rebates exist for anaesthetist services.

If procedures occur in a public hospital fertility unit, there will be no fees for either day surgery or anaesthetist services.

Egg, sperm and embryo storage/ cryopreservation

These may be called advanced science costs. Storage costs vary for reproductive tissue.

Ask about upfront payments, instalment payments or annual fees.

Reviewers: Prof Martha Hickey, Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Melbourne, VIC; Franca Agresta, Clinical Research Manager, Melbourne IVF, VIC; Alyssa White, National Publications Project Manager, Cancer Council NSW; and Georgia Mills, Cancer Survivor.
Updated: 01 Jun, 2014