Iolanda Rodino is a Clinical Psychologist who has specialized in the field of infertility. Whilst she has worked in infertility clinics she is NOT an employee of any private fertility clinic and therefore is able to give objective advice.

In a nutshell there are a number of clinics in Perth offering fertility treatment and no single clinic is going to be the best for everyone. It is advisable to get information from several clinics to make a comparison of the services they offer and to decide which best meets your needs. After many years I have a developed a FAQ that may help you with the sorts of questions you'll need to ask.

Q1. Who is the best Fertility Specialist in Perth?

Actually there are a couple of "best" Perth fertility specialists, however advertising the names will result in men in black legal suits shutting the web site down quicker than you can say "hostile mucous'.

GP's will often refer to whoever the closest clinic is. To discover which fertility specialist is "your individualized best option", please schedule an initial interview on 1300 1800 02 in which several factors will be used to assist you in picking a best doctor and clinic.

Q2. What is a CREI and is that a better doctor?

Initially I thought that CREI stood for Certificate in Real Estate and Investment, a TAFE diploma you might need to manage your investment portfolio. I have since discovered it's additional training applicable to a Medical Director of fertility unit.

It does not appear to be mandatory and more frequently seen with several doctors in the Eastern States having the qualifications.

In WA, the training programme is available via KEMH/University Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and there are a couple of enthusiastic trainees going through the programme.

From a real life private PERTH IVF clinic perspective, Dr. John Yovich (PIVET) has these additional qualifications. This is not surprising given Dr. John Yovich is widely acknowledged for his pioneering work in Invitro Fertilitzation (IVF) resulting is Western Australia's first IVF baby, delivered in 1982.

Q3 . Got a "female problem" perhaps see a female fertility specialist

All fertility clinics in Perth have noteworthy women fertility specialists. Concept Fertility Centre prides itself on its strong female contingent, led by W.A.'s only female Medical Director – the popular Dr. Lucy Williams. Concept's newest recruit Dr. Manju Ambekar is also one to keep an eye on – I have had great feedback on this doctor who is very patient focused and is getting good pregnancy rates.

Other doctors such as Dr. Margot Norman (Fertility North), Dr. Julia Barton (Hollywood Fertility Centre) are also worth a mention.

Q4. Doctors that Deliver

The majority of Fertility Specialists DON'T do obstetrics and even if they do you do not have to stay with the Perth fertility clinic recommendation. This list is not all inclusive but fertility specialists frequently recommended by patients that have good pregnancy rates and will deliver your baby are:

Remember you do not have to stay with your fertility clinic once a pregnancy and fetal heart beat is achieved. Your GP can then refer you to an obstetrician closer to home or simply to KEMH.

Q5. Is Cost an Issue?

It's strange that clinic fees seem to vary so much – there are primarily two pharmaceutical companies servicing the PERTH IVF clinics (Merck Serono and MSD) and pretty much most clinics use the same drugs. The most expensive clinics do not necessary or guarantee to give you a better success rate so the bottom line is you don't necessarily get more by paying more.

From clinic fees provided Fertility North seems to be the lowest. Concept Fertility Centre focuses on the added bonus of "No Upfront Fees". See this site's Clinic costs for a comparison. If a clinic is not listed ask for the relevent item to do your own comparison. If cost is seriously an issue and age is not against you then the KEMH Fertility Clinic may also be worth considering ( see link on this site)

Q6. Fertility Specialists who specialize in Surgical Techniques

Dr. John Yovich (PIVET) certainly specializes, as does Dr. Lincoln Brett (Hollywood Fertility Centre) and Dr. Jay Natalwala and Dr. Vince Chapple (Fertility North).

Q7. Weight Restrictions and access to IVF

Increasingly clinics are putting restrictions on treating women who carry excessive weight (e.g. BMI – Body Mass Index greater than 35). BMI is calculated by your weight divided by the square of your height. For example is you weighed 95kg and your height is 1.6 metres your calculation would be: 95/(1.6x1.6) = 37

This elevated BMI greater than 35 means that your doctor may be reluctant to treat you but ultimately this will be dependent upon individual doctor/clinic policy. The reason weight is a problem as increasingly research literature suggests that excess weight impacts on overall success rates for IVF. Plus there are additional potential implications of obesity on pregnancy.

Dr. Graeme Thompson from Concept Fertility Centre does treat some women who have elevated BMI's however this is following a thorough medical assessment.

Q8. My Clinic Say's I'm too Old

Clinics can have an age cut-off however under the HRT (1991) Act, access to IVF treatment is not determined by age but by menopause. If you are menopausal due to age then the clinic can decline to treat you.

Being treated with IVF does not mean you will succeed as the age of the egg is a key factor and being in your forties significantly affects pregnancy outcomes. Make sure you ask your Fertility Specialist what are the potential success rates for age so you have informed consent.

Q9. Who Does Egg/Sperm/Embryo Donor Treatments

There are two types of donor programme – known where the recipient brings in the donor of egg/sperm/embryo. All Perth Fertility Clinics offer this type of donor programme. The alternative is anonymous (i.e. clinic recruited donor) whereby the clinic provides the donor. Clinic recruited donor programmes involve a lot of work by the clinic hence not all clinics will offer the service or will have long waiting lists. The clinics who frequently offer clinic recruited donor programmes are:

It is useful to call both Concept Fertility and PIVET to compare their waiting lists. Try not to have your name secretly on too many lists – it just makes the lists artificially long.

Q10. The Science behind it All

The most exciting aspect from a practictioners stance is the progressive science guiding reproductive medicine. Perth has a great embryology community – embryologists are so friendly and keen to help patients achieve their dream of parenthood and I have always had great pleasure working with them.

Leading the teams are Scientific Directors who are also approachable and happy to answer patient enquiries without appointments. Two notable Scientific Directors that I can recommend are:

Additionally there are committed Laboratory Managers – these being:

Q11. Counselling – Is It Mandatory that I do It?

As a Clinical Psychologist/Infertility Counsellor I would love to say you MUST do it?

The fact is it is not mandatory but strongly recommended and patients will often comment that they are happy they have attended the initial implications counselling session. Current research focuses on the benefits of attending pre-treatment implication counselling.

What is mandatory is that the clinic has access to an approved infertility counsellor. It is mandatory that counselling is offered be it through individual or group processes and it is mandatory that patients understand that they do not have to pay an additional fee to see the counsellor as the session is built into the overall global IVF fee (i.e. Medicare item 13200). Declining to access the counsellor does not result in fee reduction.

Q12. Are All Counsellors the Same?

Not all infertility counsellors have the same training – Some are psychologists, some clinical psychologists and some social workers. Rather than focussing on qualifications, a simple question that you can ask your counsellor is how many years' experience does she have specifically working at a fertility clinic (not just reading fertility books) and this will give a clue about skill levels.

Experienced people have 5+ years and the veterans(experts) have 10+ years – there are several veteran counsellors like that in Perth.

Q13. Is Surrogacy Legal in WA?

Yes - The Surrogacy Act 2008 was passed by Parliament on 10 December 2008 with the associated subsidiary legislation commencing on 1 March 2009. This means it is now legal for non-commercial surrogacy arrangements to be made between eligible persons in Western Australia.

It is important to understand that even if a patient thinks they are eligible for a surrogacy arrangement the ultimate decision rests with the fertility specialist.

It is also important to understand that eligibility for surrogacy MUST be on the grounds of medical reasons, not social reasons such as living in the country hence distance from IVF clinic, work related reasons or even psychological reasons (e.g. pregnancy phobia). The clinics offering surrogacy programmes in WA are:

The clinics' Surrogacy Protocol may vary so an important step is to contact the Surrogacy Co-Ordinator in each Centre