Written by Catherine Lambert
14 October 2016
INCREASED demand among women wanting their eggs frozen has prompted a leading fertility clinic to slash the cost of the procedure in half.
Monash IVF clinical director Dr Lynn Burmeister has been campaigning for the cost to be lowered.
“I would discuss egg freezing with my patients and, while they thought it might be a good thing to do, when I told them it cost $10,000, they changed their minds,” Dr Burmeister said.
“Most women, aged 33-34, can’t afford it and the cost turns them off. As a female, I just thought it was too expensive and it doesn’t need to cost that much.”
The Monash IVF medical advisory board decided to reduce the cost from $10,000 to $5000. The cost of medications is still extra and ranges from $2000-$4000.
There are also extra anaesthetic and theatre costs, though they can be claimed through health insurance.
Dr Burmeister said the reduced price was not widely known but she had already seen an increase in women undergoing the procedure.
The most popular age women decide to have their eggs frozen was before their 35th birthday Dr Burmeister discouraged women in their twenties to take the procedure unless they had a low reserve of eggs. “This is becoming more popular for women when they’re at an age where they haven’t met Mr Right or maybe they have but are unlikely to have a baby with him,” Dr Burmeister said.
“The main group, though, is single working girls who don’t have a partner.
“If they do have a partner, I encourage them to go and have a baby naturally but there are also career women who are in a stable relationship but want to delay having a baby for another three or four years because of their careers and also don’t want to miss out on having a baby.”
Yet Dr Burmeister said few women who had their eggs frozen ended up using them.
“It’s really just an insurance policy,” she said. “Often, a woman might meet someone at the age of 36 or 37 and get pregnant naturally anyway or, if they don’t, they decide to never have a baby.”
Dr Burmeister said that usually 20 eggs were needed under the age of 35 for a 90 per cent chance of becoming pregnant from a frozen egg. If there were 12 eggs or less under the age of 35 there was a 50 per cent chance of having a baby.
Dr Burmeister said it was unlikely the cost would be further reduced.