Fertility Society of Australia » Four Corners Report

Four Corners Report

IVF Directors’ Group Media Statement

31 May 2016

IVF specialists point to facts about success rates from assisted reproduction 

Fertility specialists today responded to claims that older patients seeking assisted reproduction were being exploited saying the industry was governed by a world leading code of practice upon which Australian IVF clinics were audited and accredited.

Dr David Molloy, Chair of the Fertility Society of Australia’s IVF Directors’ Group, said IVF units were deeply concerned by a report on last night’s ABC Four Corners program saying it was “biased and lacked balance” and ignored Australia’s position as a world leader in infertility research and treatment.

“Australia has more than 200,000 IVF children and our industry code is the envy of the world,” he said.

“The program featured interviews with people who claimed to have been given false hope about their chances of having a baby through IVF treatment.

“Patients are our first priority and Australian IVF units are required under the Reproductive Technology Accreditation Committee’s Code of Practice to advise people seeking infertility about their chances of success.

“The Four Corners program focused on women at an age of declining natural fertility – that is more than 42 years – who are only a small proportion of IVF patients.

“Some woman do become time trapped and have limited choices in seeking a child.  The only alternative is to deny them any treatment, which is discriminatory and cruel.”

Dr Molloy said the Four Corners program claimed IVF was being deliberately marketed to this older group of patients, however IVF units and the Fertility Society had spent tens of thousands of dollars on community education aimed at encouraging older women away from IVF.

“The program called for more regulation, but Australia already has one of the highest levels of regulation through the Reproductive Technology Accreditation Committee, or RTAC, and State legislations,” he added.

Dr Molloy said the RTAC Code of Practice was developed by the FSA to:

  • promote continuous improvement in the quality of care offered to people accessing fertility treatment;
  • provide a framework and set criteria for the auditing process that leads to accreditation of organisations that deliver fertility services;
  • ensure the auditing process is carried out in an independent, non-adversarial and constructive manner.

“Australia is a world leader is providing specialist infertility counselling services that help couples seeking IVF to understand the journey upon which they are embarking and their realistic chances of having a baby.

“This counselling assists couples to cope with any stress associated with treatment and, for some, realising their treatment for assisted conception may not be successful.”

Dr Molloy said the Four Corners program attacked doctors working for larger IVF companies as having a conflict of interest and it also claimed IVF was over used by some clinics.

Four Corners presented no evidence to support these claims,” he said.

The Fertility Society of Australia is the peak body representing scientists, doctors, researchers, nurses, consumers and counsellors in reproductive medicine.

A key role of the Society’s IVF Directors Group is the governance of high quality assisted reproductive technology by maximising success rates with appropriate consumer support that does not falsely raise expectations or create confused messages.

“The FSA and IVF Directors Group are committed to ensuring IVF units comply with guidelines on assisted reproductive technology issued by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and they are embraced within the RTAC Code of Practice,” Dr Molloy said.”

He said the IVF Directors Group and the Fertility Society of Australia were also reviewing the data collection processes and official reporting of fertility treatment in Australia.

“This will further assist patients to make informed decisions and understand the likelihood of success from various treatment options,” he added.

Interview: Dr David Molloy is available for interview on 0417 700 429.