Featured stories from Layby surgery

Fertility treatment blog

Fertility is a big emotional topic… We all hear about the beautiful bundles of joy produced from fertility treatments BUT the logistics of ‘making it all happen’ are often overlooked until you’re neck deep in debt and emotionally drained by the whole experience. If you make up the one in six people who have difficulty achieving pregnancy then it’s important to know your options as well as prepare yourself physically, emotionally, and financially.

Know your fertility options

Whether you’re a couple having trouble conceiving or you desire to be a single parent, the main types of fertility treatments available in Australia include:

-In vitro fertilisation (IVF)
In essence, the IVF process involves combining eggs and sperm in a culture dish (in vitro, meaning outside the body) in the lab. The egg and sperm may be yours and your partners or may be donated, depending on your individual situation or specific fertility issues. When an egg is fertilised by the sperm an embryo is formed and then implanted into your uterus for growth to happen as per regular conception. Often there are multiple embryos formed in one treatment cycle, so they are frozen for later implantation attempts.

-Artificial insemination (AI) and Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
Artificial insemination is used for any number of reasons, from partner semen allergy, low sperm count or when using a donor sperm option. Intrauterine insemination involves sperm being washed and concentrated then placed directly into your uterus at the time of ovulation. It often involves you taking fertility medications to prompt increased egg release.

-Egg and sperm donation
Often referred to as ‘third-party reproduction’, using donor sperm, egg or embryos can be from a known or anonymous source. There are many reasons, from single parenting and same sex couples to advancing age or medical conditions that require the use of donor eggs or sperm (or both). It’s important to note that in Australia it is illegal to make any payment for human tissue, including eggs or sperm. The expense you have are for the procedures involved with collection, screening, storing, and implanting the gametes (sex cells).

Cost of fertility treatment

-Medicare rebates
According to Services Australia, if a doctor refers you for fertility treatments, then SOME of the costs of assisted reproductive treatments such as IVF are likely to be covered by Medicare. However, you will still have to pay some of the cost of fertility treatment yourself. Your out-of-pocket expenses will depend on which services you need, how much your chosen fertility doctor charges and whether you have private health insurance.

That is why it’s important to find out from your doctor the specific procedures (and their associated costs) you will require, what your insurer will cover and what rebates Medicare offers. Knowing EXACTLY what you’ll have to pay for from the beginning is important to help you plan for your family’s financial future.

-Most costs are payable upfront
The costs of assisted reproductive treatments vary considerable depending on your individual circumstances. Even with the highest coverage of private health insurance and Medicare subsidies, you’re likely to face out-of-pocket expenses. But one common theme is that you pay upfront for you’re the cost of your fertility treatment, whether you successfully conceive a baby or not.

According to Canstar , based on fees advertised for three of the largest IVF clinics in Australia (IVF Australia, Genea Clinic, Monash IVF) the average cost of an initial cycle of IVF is between $8,800 to $10,600 with the out-of-pocket expenses ranging from about $4480 to about $5,330.*

That is just the start. There is also ovulation induction (approx. $700/ cycle), frozen embryo transfer ($3,600), freezing of embryos (>$900/ 6 months), freezing sperm (up to $450/ 6 months), Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection, ICSI (between $9,600 to $11,200) plus any specific medications. An intrauterine insemination cycle (IUI) averages around $2,500.*

*Please note: These are estimated average costs only. Please consult with your fertility specialist to determine your exact costing when it comes to assisted reproductive treatments.

The hard-to-hear parts of fertility treatment…

-It’s doesn’t always work
While there has been more than 200,000 Australians born via assisted conception, there are many different statistics collected about the ‘successes of assisted reproductive technologies, in particular In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) treatment.

So, be careful to understand exactly what statistic you’re getting when looking into IVF. For example, success may be considered a clinical pregnancy, not necessarily a live birth.

One of the most important factors for IVF success rates is your age. When comparing the success rates among clinics, check that you are looking at statistics that are relevant to your age. If ‘whole clinic’ rates are quoted remember that this will take women of all age, where they may often have older or younger patients than you or specialize in techniques that are not relevant to you.

The Australian government has created an IVF Estimator calculator compiled from statistics of all accredited IVF clinics in Australia. It gives you the ability to compare clinics for their services, cost of fertility treatment and success rates.

[Suggested image: Use the tool at: https://www.yourivfsuccess.com.au/clinicsto find a clinic that you’re associated with and show their stats graph]

A note on loss: Many women and families feel isolated after a miscarriage or unsuccessful fertility treatment. You are not alone. The Pink Elephants Support Network was established to offer support for anyone impacted by early pregnancy loss. They use evidence, empathy, and connection to provide specialist support whenever and wherever it’s needed.

-Debt is a scary way to start a new family
Assisted reproductive technologies, such as IVF, occur in ‘treatment cycles’ with a number of steps along the way. While it sounds obvious, you are essentially paying for the procedure not the result. That is, if you are borrowing money or using a buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) service you may be left with a growing debt and no baby.

As harsh as it sounds there are alternatives, such as Layby Surgery, to ensure that if or when you are successful, your sleepless nights are caused by the sounds of your baby’s cries and not by your mounting medical debts.

Layby Surgery was founded on the belief that life-changing procedures like fertility treatments should be accessible to everyone.

Layby Surgery is exactly like the retail version of Layby that your mum probably used to pay for your Christmas gifts as a child. Simply,

  • Choose your procedure and/ or clinic
  • Calculate the estimated total cost (with the help of your chosen fertility specialist)
  • Decide on weekly, fortnightly, or monthly payments.

When it comes time to have your first cycle of treatment, it’s like the best gift of all awaits…the chance to conceive a baby without the debt or financial strain!

-Using Super sounds good, but beware
Accessing your superannuation early for the payment of IVF is sometimes possible through the ATO’s compassionate grounds criteria. However, be cautious when considering this option. It is a rigorous process where you must meet the eligibility requirements and supply evidence to support your application. This occurs for every round of treatment you wish to apply for.

Any money that you’re allowed to withdraw from your super for the cost of fertility treatment is also taxed as a normal lump sum, so it may end up costing you more than you realise in the long run.

What financial options will be best for your future family?

As you plan your finances for fertility treatment, you will have to tackle some big emotional questions about whether you can truly put a price on having a child. Obviously, the opportunity to have a child is priceless which makes it even more important to logically consider your limits and payment options when it comes to undergoing assisted reproductive treatment.

When strong emotions are bundled up with making financial decisions, it can cause stress, strain relationships, and impact your mental health… all things that are NOT conducive to conceiving a baby! Using Layby Surgery to plan and pay for your fertility treatment gives you time to freely dream about your future family while alleviating the worries that debt can cause, especially if things don’t go to plan the first time around.

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