Free IVF Is Starting in Victoria Next Week
First, he teases a four-day working week, then he announces grants for after-hours school care, free TAFE courses and free Ls and Ps and now… free, statewide public IVF.
Papa Dan (that’s VIC Premier Dan Andrews) is really outdoing himself in the lead-up to state elections.
“IVF can be incredibly hard — but some families can’t even try because of the cost,” Andrews wrote in a Facebook status today, October 13, 2022, “But not for long. We’re introducing the country’s first free, statewide public IVF service — and it starts next week.”
“From 18 October, public fertility care services will start at The Royal Women’s and Monash Health,” he continued in the comments.
“We’re also rolling out services across the state — in Epping, Sunshine, Bendigo, Mildura, Warrnambool, Shepparton, Ballarat, Geelong, and Heidelberg.
“Additional locations in the east of Victoria will be announced soon. These satellite locations will offer initial consultations and pathology.”
In a just-released press statement, Andrews claims that a re-elected Labor Government will invest an additional $13.6 million into our Australian-first public IVF service, to help further expand access for women and families, including more availability for Victorians living in regional areas.
According to the statement, the investment means up to 5,000 people each year will have access to the services once fully operational, providing up to 3,375 treatment cycles and delivering savings of up to $10,000 to eligible Victorians — easing some of the financial pressure during what is already a challenging experience for many.
This comes after a vocal struggle around the cost of IVF, which came to light during the COVID lockdowns in Victoria. Many IVF patients were told to pause treatment, causing them to lose copious amounts of money as well as their dream of having a child.
In response, Andrews worked to ease the restrictions of elective surgeries back in January 2022, for IVF and a range of other costly procedures.
“Let’s try and have them back up and running as soon as we can,” he said.
“The most time-critical procedures within an IVF journey are still happening but … I’ve heard … just how challenging accessing it is,” he said on the matter back in January.
“It’s a very, very difficult process to go through for so many, the pandemic has made it even harder but we’ll work as hard as we can to try and get those day procedures back on and … I hope to be able to provide a positive update very, very soon.”
With the restrictions finally easing back in April 2022, Andrews has shown his public understanding of the overwhelming process of IVF, both financially and emotionally.
And now, with this announcement of a free, statewide, public IVF service; he has continued his understanding and compassion on from what he learnt during the restrictions.
How Will Free IVF in Victoria Work?
Here’s what we know so far, according to Premier Dan Andrews’ statement earlier today:
The first two locations will provide both face-to-face and telehealth consultations to a small number of patients initially, before gradually expanding the service to support more Victorians over the next two years.
Satellite sites, which will offer important services such as initial consultations and pathology, are also being established in Bendigo, Mildura, Shepparton, Geelong, Ballarat, Warrnambool, Epping, Sunshine and Heidelberg – with additional regional satellites to be announced in coming months.
The services will particularly help Victorians on a budget and people in regional areas to realise their dreams of starting or growing their families.
It will also help people who need access to donor or surrogacy services, and those who need fertility preservation due to medical treatment – such as cancer patients who, until now, haven’t been able to freeze their eggs or sperm.
Services will include IVF, fertility preservation, genetic testing, donor and surrogacy services – including Victoria’s first public sperm and egg bank – and a range of other treatments, counselling, information and support.
The phased rollout will ensure high-quality care for patients, guide how the program is implemented in the future and allow sufficient time to build up the required workforce and infrastructure.
The additional investment is on top of the $70 million the Labor Government has already invested, including $20 million to improve public hospital facilities to deliver the service.
It comes on top of the Labor Government’s significant reforms to Victoria’s assisted reproductive treatment laws, increasing access across the system – so all Victorians have the opportunity to start a family.
“IVF can be a game changer for people who might be struggling to have a child, but too often and for too many, it’s financially out of reach,” said Andrews.
“Our Australian-first public fertility service will remove the cost barrier for thousands of eligible aspiring parents — and make it easier for them to start a family of their own.”
For more information, you can find the full media release here.