Public fertility service

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The Women’s assists people of all genders who have been trying to conceive naturally but have been unsuccessful, or whose situation or health may prevent or impair fertility or safe conception.

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

The sections below provide information on our publicly-funded fertility service. 

Another option provided by the Women’s is: low-cost fertility treatment, which is provided in partnership with Melbourne IVF. Some people might find this a more suitable option.  

Who is eligible?

Our publicly-funded fertility service is available to all Victorian residents – including same sex and other couples and single people with a donor.  

To be eligible to access 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 (see The first steps you need to take section below)
  • be using an egg (your own or from a donor) that is 42 years or younger at time of treatment.

If the above eligiblity criteria does not meet your needs, please see our low-cost fertility treatment page.

Services we do not provide

The following services are not available through the public hospital system:

  • reversal of sterilisation procedures
  • elective egg freezing services.

Options for these procedures are available from private providers.

The first steps you need to take

If you meet the eligibility criteria, you will need to see your GP or specialist for a referral to the Women’s. 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 can download the referral form at the bottom of this webpage. 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.


Referrals

If you are part of a couple who has been trying to conceive naturally, your GP or specialist can refer you if:

  • the woman is aged under 35 years and has tried to become pregnant for one year or more and has not become pregnant
  • the woman is aged 35-42 and has tried to become pregnant for six months or more and has not become pregnant.

Required tests your GP or specialist needs to order and send with your referral

Primary patient investigations

  • Hepatitis B & C
  • HIV
  • Cervical screening test (CST)
  • Rubella
  • Varicella
  • Syphilis
  • FBE 
  • Blood group & antibodies
  • FSH
  • LH
  • Prolactin
  • Ferritin
  • Progesterone (day 21 for regular cycles and adjusted for irregular cycles)
  • TSH
  • Estradiol (E2)
  • Free testosterone
  • Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG)
  • Chlamydia/Gonorrhoea urine or endocervical PCR (if appropriate)
  • Pelvic ultrasound (trans-vaginal if possible)
  • Karyotype 

Partner tests (if you are accessing our service with a partner):

  • Hepatitis B & C
  • HIV
  • Karyotype 
  • Male hormones (if appropriate)
  • Semen analysis (if appropriate)
  • Semen antibodies (if appropriate)

What to bring to your appointment at the Women’s

  • A letter from the Women’s confirming your appointment
  • Your Medicare card, Health Care Card and/or Pension Card*
  • Details of any current medications*
  • Photo identification (Australian Driver Licence or Passport)*
  • Supporting documentation if you are an asylum seeker*.

*If you are using our service with a partner, your partner should also bring these documents to your first appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any costs associated with the service?

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.

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.

Is there a limit to the number of IVF cycles?

Depending on your specific fertility needs and that of your partner or donor, you may or may not need IVF. Under this public fertility service model, there is a maximum of two treatment cycles (IVF or ICSI) per person (per lifetime) including subsequent transfer of all embryos collected during those cycles. Your care team can provide further information.

Is there a waiting list?

Once your referral has been received and accepted, you will be notified. We will schedule your first appointment as soon as possible. Once you are enrolled with the service, you will be commencing your fertility treatment journey.

Each person’s treatment journey is different. The timing and type of treatment will depend on your specific fertility needs and that of your partner or donor. There are lots of different options for treating infertility and the different pathways will affect the timelines for each person. 

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 enrol in the Public Fertility Service.

To do so, you will need a new GP or specialist referral to the public fertility service at the Women’s (or Monash Health).

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.

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

Not yet. The new Egg and Sperm Bank relies on donations from members of the community. At this stage, we expect the bank to be up and running in mid-2023.

Can I access the service if I have my own egg/sperm donor?

Yes. The service is available to any couple or single person, including people with a known egg/sperm donor. However, you and your donor will need to obtain a referral from your GP or specialist to the Women’s even if you are already enrolled with another fertility service and include all the relevant investigations and tests (see 

During your treatment journey, your donor will be required to attend an appointment at the hospital, either with you or on their own.

I have frozen embryos/eggs/sperm; can I use them if I am a patient of the public fertility service?

Yes. The service is available to people who have frozen embryos, eggs or sperm. However, you will need to obtain a referral from your GP or specialist to the Women’s even if you are already enrolled with another fertility service.

The Women’s will liaise with the service where your embryos, eggs or sperm are currently being stored to organise a transfer.

The cost of transporting your frozen embryos, eggs or sperm must covered by you.

If I can’t access the service at the Women’s, can I access the service at Monash Health?

Monash Health and the Women’s have the same eligibility criteria. Monash Health might be more suitable for people living in the south-east of Melbourne.

What you can expect after your referral

Your referral will be triaged by clinical staff at the Women’s. You will receive a letter from us outlining if your referral has been accepted.

If you have been accepted, you will be sent an appointment date and time. This appointment will be with a member of our medical specialist team, which includes consultants and specialist fellows in reproductive medicine.

We will schedule your first appointment as soon as possible. Once you are enrolled with the service, you will be starting your fertility treatment journey.

Your first appointment

At your first appointment with us, we will ask you questions about your fertility history. We may order further tests to assess your fertility.

We will also perform a health assessment to ensure that you are in the best possible condition to safely have a baby.

If you are coming to our service with a partner, we may also ask them questions about their fertility history, and order further tests to assess their fertility.

After this first appointment, our staff will liaise with you to book further appointments.

After your first appointment

We will work with you to decide which treatment is appropriate.

Treatments we recommend include:

  • assisting your ovulation, with a focus on timings, known as ovulation induction
  • a lifestyle assessment and weight management strategy to reduce the impact of excess weight on fertility
  • artificial insemination or IVF. If artificial insemination or IVF is recommended, we will organise a counselling session for you before this treatment begins.  

Unable to attend your appointment?

If you need to change the time of your appointment, let us know as soon as possible. Email or call us: reproductiveservices@thewomens.org.au or (03) 8345 3200.

This will give us the opportunity to offer your appointment time to another person in need.


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