Major investigation into dodgy IVF clinics interstate should raise alarm bells: SA-BEST

27 March 2019

A major investigation into the IVF industry in Victoria should raise alarm bells across Australia, SA-BEST believes.

SA-BEST MLC and health spokesperson, Connie Bonaros, has written to South Australia’s Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner (HCSCC) seeking an urgent meeting to be briefed on the sector in SA and whether they have any concerns about the practices of operators here – and whether there is a database of complaints about IVF clinics in SA.

Connie’s concerns follow a landmark review of Victoria’s Assisted Reproductive Services which found some people accessing IVF services had fallen victim to unethical operators – including a doctor knowingly transferring an unviable embryo into a patient.

That review sparked the Victorian Government to announce a major crack down on unscrupulous IVF providers who prey on vulnerable couples struggling to conceive/start a family.

“The Victorian experience should send shockwaves throughout the entire IVF industry across the country,” Connie said.

“If IVF clinics in that state can be that unethical and rogue, what’s to say the same unscrupulous practices aren’t occurring in other jurisdictions,” she said.

“I have no doubt the majority of IVF providers do the right thing and help many struggling families create the family they have long craved for – by its very nature, it us such a sensitive and complex industry.

“If the Commissioner has any doubts at all about the integrity of any IVF clinics in SA I will seek our own independent review of the sector.

“State borders don’t necessarily stop unscrupulous business practices.

“I want to be 100 per cent confident that all IVF clinics in SA are operating ethically and honourably – not to mention the hundreds of couples who reach out to these businesses each year.”

Connie will also request the Commissioner investigate whether the penalties applicable to IVF providers who are found guilty of operating unethically are appropriate.

“By its very nature, the IVF industry is an extremely sensitive and emotional industry – it can make and break hearts,” Connie said.

“The joys it can bring are obvious, but the pain and sense of loss that it can lead to are immeasurable,” she said.

“A lot of that has to do with nature – and there’s not much anyone can do about that.

“But if the unethical practices of an IVF clinic are the blame, the full force of the law should be thrown at that business and it should never be allowed to operate again.

“I believe the majority of IVF providers probably are operating ethically and have the very best interests of their clients at heart.

“I just want to ensure the IVF industry is sacrosanct – that is why I have asked for an urgent briefing from the Commissioner.”

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