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  • Victorians are being invited to make submissions to an inquiry into dodgy IVF practices

    Author: AAP

Victorians are being invited to comment on a state government ordered inquiry into dodgy IVF and assisted reproductive treatment services.

The state government has tasked Health Complaints Commissioner Karen Cusack with uncovering questionable practices by IVF and Assisted Reproductive Treatment services, with a final report delivered to the government by the year's end.

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"I understand it may be distressing for people who have used ART/IVF services to discuss their experiences, however I can assure anyone who contacts my office they will be treated with sensitivity and confidentiality," Ms Cusack said.

"Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may do so."

The inquiry will consult with members of the public and service providers. Anyone who has previously lodged a complaint with the commissioner is also invited to make a submission.

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Ms Cusack says if cases emerge during the inquiry that warrant investigation, a separate investigation may be undertaken and action taken, if appropriate.

Any matters of false, misleading and deceptive conduct will be referred to Consumer Affairs Victoria.

The commissioner's report may also include recommendations to the government.

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

The inquiry follows a review of Assisted Reproductive Services, which looked into the adequacy of safeguards to protect people using, or intending to use, assisted reproductive treatment after some people fell victim to rogue operators, including one doctor who allegedly knowingly transferred an unviable embryo into a patient.

Assisted reproductive treatment is costly, with one IVF cycle costing up to $15,000. Only about a third of people who undertake the treatment are successful.

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

A discussion paper addressing questions about the inquiry and inviting public submissions, will be posted on the HCC website.

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