Making fertility services more accessible

13 October 2022 | Babies | Fertility
The Women's CEO Sue Matthews (third from right) with A/Prof Kate Stern (centre), welcoming the announcement with other staff from the Women's
The Women's CEO Sue Matthews (third from right) with A/Prof Kate Stern (centre), welcoming the announcement with other staff from the Women's

The Royal Women’s Hospital warmly welcomes today’s announcement by the Victorian Government establishing Australia’s first public fertility service.

The Victoria-wide service will be led by the Women’s and Monash Health. Through this new initiative, individuals and families will be able to access a full range of integrated public fertility services at no cost, including:

  • Fertility assessment and management, including consultations, fertility investigations, ovulation monitoring/tracking and ovulation induction

  • Assisted reproductive treatments, as well as counselling, information and support

  • A publicly run fertility preservation program so people with cancer or other health issues can have their tissue stored and retrieved for future use.

In addition, the Women’s will establish and operate Australia’s first publicly funded sperm and egg bank for Victoria. 

Donations will be coordinated and stored, and patients of the public fertility service will have the opportunity to be matched to a suitable donor.

Speaking at the launch of the public fertility service at the Women’s, Chief Executive, Professor Sue Matthews said the service will mean more people, especially those who have faced financial and other barriers, will have access to a comprehensive, world-class fertility service.

“This announcement will change thousands of lives in Victoria. At last, we will have greater equity for all people who desperately want to become parents but until now, have been unable to afford treatment or faced other barriers,” said Professor Matthews.

“The Women’s has been working for decades on improving fertility outcomes for Victorians, from the very early days when we were involved with the first baby in Australia conceived through IVF.

“Fertility care is no longer only available to those who can afford it, now, more individuals and families will have access to this life-transforming technology at no cost.”

The Director of Fertility Services at the Women’s, Associate Professor Kate Stern AO said many people face barriers to treatment, including language and cultural barriers or because they do not have their own viable eggs or sperm.

“It’s estimated that around 15 per cent of people wanting to conceive have issues with fertility. Many of them simply cannot access fertility treatment, in some instances due to the cost, but also due to cultural and language barriers, the lack of services in rural areas, and other reasons,” said A/Professor Stern.

“With a fully funded public service now available, thousands of Victorian people and families will have the chance to fulfill their dream of becoming parents.”

The Women’s will be ready to receive its first referrals from GPs and specialists on Tuesday 18 October 2022.