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Dodgy IVF providers peddling false hope to Victorians will be targeted in a new inquiry

Photo: Vic inquiry to probe dodgy IVF providers
Unscrupulous IVF providers who peddle false hope to patients will be targeted in a new inquiry announced by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.

Dodgy IVF providers peddling false hope to Victorians about their chances of starting a family will be targeted in a new inquiry.

The state government announced on Tuesday it has asked the Health Complaints Commissioner to uncover dangerous and unethical practices by IVF providers, with a final report to be delivered to the government by the year's end.

"IVF can be a long, emotional and unpredictable journey - for many it results in joy, but for others, they are taken advantage of and peddled false hope," Premier Daniel Andrews said.
"We'll make sure that those providers who peddle lies and play with people's emotions are caught and pay the price."

The inquiry follows a review of Assisted Reproductive Services, which looked at whether there are enough safeguards to protect people using, or intending to use, assisted reproductive treatment.

The probe found some people had fallen victim to rogue, heartless operators, including one doctor who allegedly knowingly transferred an unviable embryo into a patient.

In another case, clinicians allegedly failed to disclose equipment failures and instead led patients to believe their embryos had succumbed naturally.

The inquiry aims to uncover such unscrupulous operators, who fail to be upfront about success rates or costs.

It will also recommend steps to protect patients.

People who have accessed or are accessing IVF services will be able to have their say during the inquiry's consultation process.

Health Complaints Commissioner Karen Cusack will refer any matters of false, misleading and deceptive conduct to Consumer Affairs Victoria.

Penalties will also be increased for IVF providers caught doing the wrong thing.

About 13,000 Victorians were treated at IVF clinics in the last financial year.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said while most IVF practitioners do the right thing, the ones taking advantage of vulnerable Victorians need to be weeded out.

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