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Bulk-billing IVF is happening. This is why it's such a big deal.

This is huge news for families. IVF treatment is about to get affordable.

Primary Health Care’s first bulk-billed IVF service in Australia opens today in Sydney. If other clinics are rolled out across Australia, this is the start of something big.

There are tens of thousands of women in Australia undergoing IVF.

Women who have had trouble conceiving, for whatever reason. Women who are using their own eggs, and women who are not. Women who have never met the right partner, but know without a doubt that they want to have children. Women hoping desperately that this time, this round, they will be successful.

And for every woman undergoing IVF, the expense is huge.

In fact, for some women who have trouble conceiving, the prohibitive costs mean that IVF isn’t an option at all.

Primary Health Care opens its first clinic today in Sydney, and will cut the average out-of-pocket expenses for patients to about $500. That’s compared to the average of $4000 in private clinics. The average cost for an IVF treatment is actually approximately $8000, with Medicare covering half of that cost.

According to The Daily Telegraph, the bulk-bill clinic has already had up to 300 inquiries from families who desperately want children.

Primary Health Care chief executive Dr Edmund Bateman told The Daily Telegraph, “If the medical procedure has an item number (with Medicare) we will bulk-bill it and you will pay nothing for it.”

He also said that the clinic opening in Sydney would be conducting 5,000 cycles per year – but that the number of cycles could double if there was the demand for it.

Primary Health Care will be making IVF more accessible for women who might be able to afford it.

Mamamia once published a letter from a reader about watching friends struggle to become pregnant with IVF, and the emotional, physical and financial toll it was taking on them.

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They wrote, “I am writing to express my extreme distress at what appears to be the most expensive lottery ticket in town for over 40s these days – IVF… At around $10k a cycle, that is a lot of money on a chance that is less than one in 10. I am seeing marriages crumble, hearts break, hormones go wild and mental and physical devastation as a result of every cycle that doesn’t produced much longed for babies.”

Mamamia contributor Wendy Squires has also written in the past for The Age on the toll it can take on a person. Squires wrote about a friend, “She was also broke, having re-mortgaged to keep up with the expensive procedures (minus the government rebate, the average cost for a cycle is $3000). Her relationship was suffering and career neglected.”

IVF is a huge emotional and financial commitment, and for many women it’s not easy. Bulk-billed IVF is a game-changer.

Access Australia chief executive Dr Sandra Dill told The Daily Tele, “If it is true there would be greater equity of access for treatment because there won’t be any additional costs.”

Primary Health Care will be making IVF more accessible for women who might otherwise never have a chance of undergoing such a procedure; and decreasing the financial burden for women who will be struggling with the emotional toll of IVF.

Anything that makes IVF a little bit easier for women who fiercely want to be mothers, is a development that should be applauded.

Here are a few celebrities who have had children through IVF:

You might also like these stories:

14 things you don’t want to hear when you’re doing IVF.

Facing financial oblivion: the crippling cost of IVF surrogacy.

“Look what I’ve done to myself… I am 47 years old. What was I thinking?

Do you think IVF should be made more affordable for prospective patients? Do you welcome the news of an IVF clinic to bulk bill?

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