Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 20 August 2001
Page: 29793


Mr Kelvin Thomson asked the Minister for Health and Aged Care, upon notice, on 3 October 2000:

(1) What is the average or standard cost of providing a woman with in-vitro fertilisation treatment.

(2) How much of the cost is (a) covered by Medicare and (b) paid by the patient.


Dr Wooldridge (Minister for Health and Aged Care) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

Under the Medicare arrangements, there are a number of different components to in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment and the treatment can be provided where ovulation is unstimulated, or more commonly, may involve the use of drugs to stimulate ovulation. Based on data for the 12 months to June 2000, IVF treatment using unstimulated cycles accounted for approximately 6.1% of treatment cycles.

The following statistics therefore assume that the treatment involves the use of stimulated cycles and also includes planning and management services, oocyte retrieval, preparation of semen and the transfer of the embryo or the ova and sperm.

These services are covered under the following items in the Medicare Benefits Schedule.

13200 Assisted Reproductive Services (such as in-vitro fertilisation, gamete intrafallopian transfer or similar procedures) involving the use of drugs to induce superovulation, and including quantitative estimation of hormones, ultrasound examinations, all treatment counselling and embryology laboratory services - but excluding artificial insemination or transfer of frozen embryos or donated embryos or ova or a service to which item 13203, 13206 or 13218 applies - being services rendered during 1 treatment cycle, if the duration of the treatment cycle is at least 9 days.

13209 Planning and management of a referred patient by a specialist for the purpose of treatment by assisted reproductive technologies including in-vitro fertilisation, gamete intra-fallopian transfer and similar procedures, or for artificial insemination - payable once only during 1 treatment cycle.

13212 Oocyte retrieval by any means including laparoscopy of ultrasound-guided ova flushing, for the purposes of assisted reproductive technologies including in-vitro fertilisation, gamete intra-fallopian transfer or similar procedures - only if rendered in conjunction with a service to which item 13200 or 13206 applies.

13215 Transfer of embryos or both ova and sperm to the female reproductive system, by any means but excluding artificial insemination or the transfer of frozen or donated embryos - only if rendered in conjunction with a service to which item 13200 or 13206 applies, being services rendered in 1 treatment cycle.

13221 Preparation of semen for the purposes of assisted reproductive technologies or for artificial insemination.

Based on data for the 12 months to June 2000, per treatment cycle, the average Medicare benefit was $1842.78 and the average out-of-pocket expense for items covered by Medicare was $564.77. If patients also require services not covered by Medicare, additional costs may be incurred.

For the same period, the average cost per treatment cycle for the associated drug treatment is $1900, the total cost of which is covered under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

The number of treatment cycles each woman would undergo varies, however, the average number of treatment cycles per woman is approximately 2.2. Therefore, the average cost for a woman for IVF treatment covered under the Medicare arrangements and the PBS is $9,476.70. Of this amount, $8,234.20 is covered by the Commonwealth Government.

These figures do not include any hospitalisation costs associated with IVF treatment. This is because it is not possible to obtain a definitive correlation between the coding used to classify hospitalisation data with the codes used in the Medicare Benefits Schedule for IVF services.