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  1. #1
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    Default IVF and Medicare rebate for single woman

    Hello ladies,

    I would be grateful for some advice..

    I'm an Australian citizen who has lived in London for 20 years and now returning to Australia.

    I have a son conceived through donor IVF in Denmark and wish to undergo IVF again to try for a sibling. Either Sydney or Brisbane would be accessible.

    No fertility issues other than low ovarian reserve (I'm almost 40).

    I know I can't use the same donor as Cryos sperm is not allowed in Australia. I believe some clinics import from Xytex in the US??

    I've read somewhere that single women are deemed 'socially infertile' and can't claim back the Medicare rebate. Is this the case?

    Any recommendations of reasonably priced clinics that cater to single women using imported sperm would be very appreciated.

    Many thanks
    Lucina

  2. #2
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    Hi @Lucina, your story is similar to mine.
    I'd highly advise you to make a call to Medicare (use a different name!) and enquire how long your wait will be before you have access to Medicare again. You'll need to prove that you've permanently moved back etc. it takes quite a long time to sort out. Be prepared to be frustrated to the max and if you get a smooth run with Medicare then it's a bonus! At least you can be getting the paperwork required sorted out now, such as shipping documents, new Oz lease proof etc.
    It costs about $12-15k per fully stimulated cycle under 'social ivf' with no Medicare rebate. You almost want a FS to find a fertility issues as such, so the cost can be bought down to half of that.
    The Brisbane and Sydney girls will be able to recommend the top FS in both cities. At 40 I wouldn't be wasting my precious ttc time with anyone but them.
    You can use local sperm too, if that's what you choose.
    Good luck with your journey!

  3. #3
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    Hi Lucina.

    As I understand it, you've got it right about Medicare not covering 'social infertility', and only providing a rebate for 'medical infertility'. I think though that it's up to individual fertility specialists whether or not you have issues that make you medically infertile. For better or worse, your age and low ovarian reserve may well make you 'medically infertile', so you could be entitled to the Medicare rebate, which would save you quite a bit. I think your FS will decide whether or not your treatment is Medicare rebateable after you see them.

    I don't know anything about the mechanics of 'getting back on' with Medicare after living overseas, but Tahli's advice sounds good - some anonymous enquiries, then getting the wheels moving asap.

    Yes, many Aust clinics import from Xytec, and I think some from California Cryobank too, maybe some others. The overseas clinics need to meet Aust requirements for donor information release when the child is 18, etc, as you probably know. Local sperm is also an option with some clinics, as Tahli said. Some clinics have wait lists for sperm, and some don't.

    As for the best FS - in Brisbane, I think Dr Warren de Ambrosis has that reputation, but I think he has a long wait list for appointments. Not sure about Sydney.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
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    Thank you, ladies. Very much appreciated.

    I think I've now emailed just about every fertility clinic in Australia and the bureaucracy I'm hitting in many of them is driving me more and more to the decision of remaining in the UK and going back to Denmark.

    I still have hope of coming though. My mum kindly made enquiries about a Medicare card last week in our local country town office and was told it wouldn't be a problem. The 'socially infertile' issue worries me greatly though. At 40 and with low AMH, I would think that most women would be deemed 'medically infertile' due to age. Is the FS the same as a regular GP or is a specific specialist required? Can you keep going to different FSs until you find one who will recommend that you receive the Medicare rebate? Can you speak with an FS on the phone to explain the situation and ask if it is likely that a 'medically infertile' ruling would apply?

    It's a huge gamble to rent out my house and get my son and our household items over there, only to find out that I can't get FS support.

    Many thanks again - I'm so grateful for any insight at all. So difficult to organise from over here.

    L xx

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    @Lucina - Have you sent your questions to Life Fertility in Brisbane? They are my clinic, my FS is G lenn S terling, and he does Skype appointments. I'll be having one myself soon, as my husband and I are in England as well and we are trying to organise an FET for around Aug/Sept. Also we used their donor sperm to conceive our DS, they import from Xytex and usually have around 9-10 profiles to choose from, from memory. I've been emailing one of their nurses a lot in the last few weeks with heaps of annoying questions about how we're going to do this (I'll be doing the whole cycle apart from the transfer itself in Perth), and she's been terrific.

    Good luck with organising it, it's horrible trying to do it from here, but I'm just trying to break it down into manageable tasks for now.

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    Thank you, Sariele. It's so difficult isn't it! Wishing you the best of luck with the treatment. I'll give Life Fertility a try now - haven't contacted them yet. Really need assurance of obtaining the rebate before even thinking of dragging my little boy halfway round the world. xx

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    Hi Lucina. I understand your predicament. It's difficult.

    Re fertility specialists, no they're not GPs - theyre obstetricians/gynecologists. You will need a GP referral to a FS to see one (generally). It shouldn't be a problem to get another GP referral to a different FS if u are not happy with the one u see.

    I have heard that quite a few FSs do Skype consults, so u might be able to 'see' one or a few before you leave the UK. The practical problem may be getting a GP referral to one - not sure if a UK Dr can refer to Aust Dr? You may be able to just pay the consult cost without a referral though? Not sure.

    I suspect that the decision re whether your treatment will be Medicare rebateable will rest with individual FSs - ie u msy not be able to get a definitive answer from emailing clinics, nurses etc. Initial Skype consult with FS from UK may be the way to go to get an answer on this.

    If it helps, i had both social and medical infertility factors - same sex relationship, as well as low AMH ( not sure now - maybe 2. something?) and i was treated as medically infertile. I was 36. Like i said, your age and AMH may be enough. Did u have any problems conceiving first bub? Failed IUIs? That would probably help your case too.

    Good luck!

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    Lucina, just for my own curiosity, feel free not to answer, but just wondering why you're not going through the NHS? Are you ineligible as a non-national, or as a single woman etc?

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    Thank you, JustJaq.

    I finally made some headway by phoning a lovely clinic in Brisbane last night (your morning) and my next step will be to pay for a consultation via Skype with an FS, based on a fertility check up here. I hope to get a decision on the medically/socially infertile question and this will determine my ability to emigrate or need to remain here.

    A good question regarding the NHS... in the UK, couples (and recently same-sex couples, I think) are entitled to either one, two or three IVF attempts through the NHS, depending on where they live. However, as a single woman, I get no assistance whatsoever and must pay for everything on my own (even though arguably more in need of financial support as I only have one modest income rather than two). Privately in London I would be paying the equivalent of around $20,000 to $30,000 Australian dollars for IVF with donor sperm - unaffordable! Prices in Denmark are considerably lower, there is less bureaucracy and I found the team friendly and efficient.

    I would return to Denmark again but my other reason for wanting to return to Australia is that I wish to care for aging parents over there. I just need to make sure I can get affordable IVF in Australia before I commit to coming. I went straight for IVF as my AMH was 4.9 three years' ago, but the treatment worked first time, luckily. My subsequent FET (two weeks' ago) failed.

  10. #10
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    Thanks Lucina. Glad to hear you've made some headway with an Aust clinic.

    Wow, that's rough for single women in the UK, especially if same sex couples are eligible - usually single women and same sex couples get the same deal.

    Ps if u dont know, i think you'll probably need to do some counselling before using donor sperm. We did. It wasnt too onerous though - 2 sessions and a report, and counsellor was nice. Just so you're pre-warned.

    Wishing you all the best. Keep us updated how you go!


 

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