18 Sep 2019

HCC Inquiry into Assisted Reproductive Treatment practices: submissions closing soon

Anyone wishing to make a submission to the Health Complaints Commissioner’s Inquiry into Assisted Reproductive Treatment (ART) practices in Victoria still has time to do so.

Commissioner Karen Cusack said submission forms were available for fertility treatment consumers, providers and other interested parties until midnight on Friday 20 September 2019 at hcc.vic.gov.au/public/or by calling 1300 582 113.

“Submissions can be anonymous and can include as much, or as little, information as the person is comfortable with,” Ms Cusack said.

She said she had received more than 100 submissions since the Inquiry commenced on 25 June 2019.

“In the last month I’ve also held a number of consultation sessions with ART consumers and providers, which provided an opportunity to hear valuable feedback in a group discussion setting,” Ms Cusack said.

“Themes emerging from consumer submissions have included concerns about costs, communication (the management of realistic expectations and the provision of patient-centred care), the promotion and use of add-on or adjuvant treatments and the occurrence of adverse events, such as Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome.

“The mandatory counselling offered to clients prior to treatment has also been a key topic of submissions. Consumers are concerned that this counselling can be a ‘tick box’ exercise and that there is not enough ongoing counselling provided, such as after an unsuccessful treatment when support is needed the most.”

Ms Cusack said themes emerging from provider submissions included concerns about providers who label themselves as ‘fertility specialists’ without certain qualifications, poor definitions for add-on or adjuvant treatments and inconsistent use of these treatments across clinics.

“We’ve also heard about a lack of support for men generally and those with male factor infertility, the need for more support for people experiencing infertility and miscarriage and the ethical implications of donating embryos.”

She said it was vital she had as much information as possible to inform the Inquiry and encouraged anyone with an experience to share to make a submission before midnight on Friday 20 September 2019.

She said the submissions would inform a report to the Victorian Government at the conclusion of the Inquiry.