Recently, corporate IVF clinics have come under fire for blurring ethical lines. This comes following the Daily Telegraph report stating that some corporate clinics are generously rewarding their IVF practitioners for performing more than double the average number of cycles each year.
In light of this, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has asked a powerful Medicare taskforce to undertake an urgent review. The quota bonus systems are also being scrutinised by NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard, independent fertility doctors and IVF pioneer Alan Trounson who are concerned that companies are putting profits ahead of ethics. They raised concerns that this “conflict of interest” is leading to clinics cashing in on the hopes of desperate parents who may never fall pregnant. The nature of these bonuses make it evident that “people in management want to maximise dividends for shareholder”, said obstetrician Dr Gannon.
Demeter Fertility’s own Medical Director, Dr David Knight was also asked to share his opinion on the issue, “It’s distasteful, disrespectful to patients, disrespectful to Medicare and to the whole industry… Any medical practitioner will say they’re moral and ethical but where that line goes grey is doing cycles to get over a number.” Dr Knight explained that this system is problematic because the profit motive overrides need to provide a high standard of ethical care.
Considering the financial and emotional toll when trying to start a family through IVF, it’s critical that people can make an informed choice when selecting a clinic. The corporate system clearly lacks transparency and needs to be improved. Independent clinics do not have performance targets and are instead committed to providing a customised holistic program in a supportive, empathetic and compassionate environment. To read the full article featuring Dr David Knight in the Daily Telegraph, please click here.