SummaryRead the full fact sheet
- Public fertility care services are giving more Victorians the chance to become parents.
- To access public fertility care services, you need a referral from a general practitioner (GP) or relevant specialist.
- Demand for public fertility care services is high, and eligible patients may be placed on a waiting list.
- A Victorian public egg and sperm bank has been established as part of public fertility care services and is accepting egg, sperm and embryo donations from the community.
Public fertility care services are giving more Victorians the chance to start a family.
Fertility treatments such as in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) can help Victorians start or build their family, but too often and for too many, it is financially out of reach or difficult to access.
Public fertility care services aim to make it easier and fairer for more Victorians to access these services, particularly:
- low-income earners
- Victorians living in rural and regional areas
- people who need donor or surrogacy services, such as LGBTIQA+ and single people
- people who need fertility preservation due to medical treatment, such as people with cancer and people undergoing gender reassignment treatment
- people who need genetic testing because they are known carriers of medical conditions that may pose a threat to the life of their child.
Once fully operational, public fertility care services are expected to benefit up to 5,000 Victorians a year, with capacity gradually increasing as the specialist workforce and infrastructure is established.
- intrauterine insemination, IVF and intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) treatment cycles
- less invasive, fertility treatments prior to IVF or ICSI treatment
- pre-treatment testing, counselling and fertility information
- donor services, supported by the establishment of Australia’s first public egg and sperm bank
- altruistic surrogacy services
- fertility preservation where medical treatment may compromise fertility, including cancer treatment and gender reassignment treatment
- genetic testing for people who are known carriers of serious medical conditions.
Partner health services across the state are also providing Victorians with a range of fertility care services closer to home, such as fertility consultations, diagnostic tests, and ultrasounds. The exact range of services available will differ between sites.
To find out what services are available near you, visit the partner health service’s website:
Local services will also be available in Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Heidelberg, Shepparton, Sunshine and Warrnambool by the end of 2023.
The cost of the public hospital services provided will be free for most people.
Some patients may have out-of-pocket costs for medication, diagnostics and/or specialised tests.
People who meet the eligibility criteria will be referred to a suitable public fertility care service provider depending on their needs.
To be eligible for public fertility services, you must:
- be a current resident in Victoria
- hold a Medicare card
- have a referral from a GP or specialist.
The clinical access criteria are as follows:
- Eggs to be fertilised must be 42 years old or younger at the time of treatment. Research evidence shows the chances of a successful outcome significantly decreases with increasing age.
- There is a maximum of 2 treatment cycles per person per lifetime. This is to ensure Victorians experiencing infertility have a fair chance of creating a family through the public service.
The clinical criteria are designed to provide Victorians with fair and equitable access to public fertility care services. They are based on research and clinical best practice.
How to access
If you are interested in public fertility care services, speak to your GP or another relevant specialist.
If you meet the eligibility and clinical criteria, you will be placed on a waiting list for an initial appointment with a fertility specialist at one of the participating health services.
Waiting lists are actively managed, and participating health services will provide you with information about expected timeframes based on your circumstances.
You can also speak to your GP or specialist about accessing fertility care services through a private provider.
Public egg and sperm bank
Australia’s first public egg and sperm bank has opened at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Parkville. The bank is an extension of Victoria’s public fertility care services and is currently accepting egg, sperm and embryo donations from the Victorian community.
The bank aims to increase access to eggs, sperm and embryos for Victorians who are receiving public fertility care and require donor services.