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Fertility Care Service

South West Healthcare is proud to partner with The Women's and Monash to help deliver public fertility services to regional Victoria.

Patient information

South West Healthcare offers a satellite site for Victorian Public Fertility Care.

Warrnambool Women’s Health Service in conjunction with the Royal Women’s Hospital assists people of all genders who have been trying unsuccessfully to conceive or who have issues which may prevent or impair fertility or safe conception.

The Public Fertility Care Service provides residents with access to comprehensive, world-class fertility treatment including genetic counseling, fertility preservation and fertility assessment and treatment.

Please note that all patients seeking public fertility assistance will need a referral from their GP to The Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne.  Direct referrals to South West Healthcare can not be accepted. Patients are not able to self refer.

What is offered:

  • Fertility investigation (male and female)
  • Assisted reproductive technologies (IUI, IVF, and ICSI)
  • Donor sperm, egg and embryo programs
  • Counselling for patients undergoing treatment
  • Fertility preservation

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Am I eligible for this program?

    Victoria’s Public Fertility Service is available to singles and couples and people of all genders whose situation or health may prevent or impair fertility or safe conception and/or who have been trying to conceive naturally but have been unsuccessful.

    To be eligible for the service, you will need to:

    • be a Victorian resident who holds a Medicare card
    • have a referral from a GP or specialist which includes all necessary test and investigation results
    • meet age criteria as follows:
      • if aged under 35 years, the patient needs to have has been trying to conceive for more than a year
      • if aged between 35-42 years (has not yet turned 43), the patient needs to have has been trying to conceive for at least six months
      • the patient needs to be using an egg (their own or from a donor) that is 42 years or younger at time of treatment.
  • If I meet the eligibility criteria, what are my first steps to taking part in this program?

    If you meet the eligibility criteria, you will need to see your GP or specialist for a referral to the Women’s first.

    Your referral must include the results of all tests and investigations, as outlined in the table below. These tests will be conducted at your own cost through a pathology and/or diagnostic service. Your GP or specialist should use this Reproductive Services Referral Form. The completed referral – including copies of your test results – can be faxed to the Women’s at (03) 8345 3036.

    Your referral will be valid for 12 months.

  • Is there any costs I may incur?

    While the public fertility service is free, there may be costs incurred outside of the service for medications, tests and investigations conducted by a pathology and/or diagnostic service.

    The Public Fertility Service is funded by the Victorian Government. If you meet the pre-selected criteria for PFS, you are eligible for two stimulated cycles which will be fully funded. All embryos created from those funded cycles will also not incur a fee for embryo transfers. Some treatments may have a cost in the future. Speak with your treating team to find out more.

    Medicines used in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) treatments as a part of the Public Fertility Service will have a standard out of pocket fee, as directed by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

  • What is the referral process?

    Once your referral has been completed by your GP and faxed to the Royal Women’s Hospital, the referral will be assessed according to need. Each person’s treatment journey is different. The timing and type of treatment will depend on specific fertility needs and that of your partner or donor. Please be aware that this process will take up to 5 days.

    Once assessed you and your GP will be notified that the referral has been accepted or declined. Normally if declined, this may be that your referral is missing some of the tests that are required.

    Once accepted, Warrnambool Women’s Health Service will call you and offer you an appointment with one of our medical specialist team.

  • Are there age restrictions for the public fertility service?

    Yes. The public fertility service accepts:

    • people aged 42 years or younger using their own eggs
    • people aged less than 51 years with donor eggs – the egg being used must be 42 years or younger at time of collection.
  • Can I be fast-tracked to the service if I am 40 years old or over?

    To ensure the public fertility service continues to meet the needs of all Victorian residents, we are unable to fast track an individual.

  • I’m receiving fertility treatment at another service. Can I switch to the public service?

    Yes, if you are receiving fertility care at another service and you meet the eligibility criteria, you can apply to enroll in the Public Fertility Service.

    To do so, you will need a new GP or specialist referral to the public fertility service at the Royal Women’s Hospital.

    You may also need to undertake some additional tests and investigations which can be obtained with a GP or specialist referral to a private testing service, at your own cost.

  • I’m receiving private fertility treatment at another service. Are there more tests and investigations needed for the public fertility service?

    Yes, while you will have undertaken some tests and investigations in the private sector, there may be additional tests required for you and your partner (if relevant) in the public sector.

    Your referring GP or specialist will have this information and be able to advise you. If you and your partner/donor need additional tests and investigations, these can be obtained with a GP or specialist referral to a private testing service.

  • What if I already have frozen embryos, eggs or sperm; am I able to use them if I am a patient of the Public Fertility Service?

    Yes, The Royal Women’s Hospital will liaise with the service where the embryos, eggs or sperm are currently being stored to organise a transfer. The cost of transporting your frozen embryos, eggs or sperm must be covered by you.

  • Can I access a donor through the new Egg and Sperm Bank?

    Yes, this will be possible in the future for patients of the Public Fertility Service. As the donation process takes some time, it will take several months to recruit donors. We expect to be able to supply eggs and sperm for current patients of the Public Fertility Service in early 2024.

    To find out more about the bank, visit egg and sperm bank website.

  • Where can I get more information from?

    More information about the Women’s Public Fertility Service is available at:

    The Royal Women’s Hospital

    Department of Health, Victoria

Fertility Preservation Clinic

The Fertility Preservation Clinic is focused on the protection and preservation of fertility for the future. The Fertility Preservation Clinic at the Royal Women's Hospital specialise in providing care in fertility considerations for patients who have cancer or another health issue that puts fertility at risk.

  • What if I am about to start chemotherapy or have a serious medical illness that will affect my ovaries or sperm?

    The main reason young women and men may need to consider fertility preservation is because of the risk of damage to eggs and sperm from chemotherapy drugs, radiotherapy or other treatments, including surgery, for serious medical illnesses and cancer.

    If your fertility preservation referral is for oncology (cancer) purposes, you should mention this at the time of your appointment to see the fertility specialist to ensure that you are seen quickly – within 24-48 hours if required with a senior fertility specialist and a counsellor if required.

  • What can I expect from the Fertility Preservation Clinic ?

    At the Fertility Preservation Service, we will:

    • Discuss any fertility or gynaecological risks associated with your cancer or other treatment, including the extent of the planned medical treatments or delay in starting a family.
    • Discuss your personal circumstances, become informed about the risks to your fertility and learn about different fertility-protecting and fertility-preserving options.
    • Arrange any necessary investigations (including blood tests and ultrasound assessment of the ovaries) once a medical history is obtained. A counselling referral can also be organised if this is required or requested.
    • For young women, the fertility preserving options include freezing of eggs, freezing of embryos, freezing of ovarian tissue, and medications which may protect the ovaries from toxic chemotherapy drugs.
    • For young men the fertility preserving options include freezing sperm and freezing of testicular tissue.
    • Liaise with local oncology services in rural, regional and remote areas and, if the young person is eligible, arrange for the collection, transportation, processing and storage of their tissue through the National Ovarian and Testicular Tissue Transport and Cryopreservation Service (NOTTCS).
  • Where can I get more information from?

    For more information regarding fertility preservation:

    The Royal Women’s Hospital – Fertility Preservation Clinic

Refer a patient

Further information for GPs and health practitioners about referrals can be found on the Royal Women’s Hospital website.

Page last updated: 14 November 2023

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