World-first IVF treatment now available on Coast
A WORLD first IVF test is bringing hope to would-be Gold Coast parents with a new screening process detecting healthy embryos with little to no risk.
The revolutionary embryo DNA test is being offered by Monash University IVF specialist Dr Kee Ong at Southport.
The testing process has already changed the life of Oxenford woman Tiffany Yovich, 35, who went through seven failed IVF treatments before becoming pregnant nine weeks ago.
"It is demoralising to go through (failed treatment) - all the injections and all of the medication to then have a negative outcome at the end," Ms Yovich said.
"You just wonder why your body is working against you when it's something so natural. It should be so easy for every woman to achieve."
For the first time women on the Gold Coast are now able to access the Monash University-exclusive treatment, which takes a sample of DNA fragments in surrounding fluid instead of the current and invasive biopsy procedure that can potentially damage or destroy weaker embryos.
Dr Ong said the process radically reduced the risk of miscarriage and genetic defects in foetuses.
"What it does is count the number of chromosomes, so if there are too many or too few chromosomes, this embryo will not be used," he said.
"It is a great tool to have for women who are older, who have had miscarriages, and people who have gone through IVF treatment and not fallen pregnant, and people who can create embryos but the embryos are not really suitable to be tested under the current technology.
"I always had this concern about whether the embryo will survive that biopsy.
"They're not even touching the embryo, they're getting the fluid from the surrounding of the embryo. It analyses this fluid with the testing."
Because the process is quicker and less invasive, it is also a lot cheaper than the traditional method, which came as a relief for Ms Yovich who had spent about $70,000 on IVF so far.
"To have gone through so many rounds of IVF and keep seeing one line (on the pregnancy test), to finally see two, I can't even describe how it feels," she said.
* Number of IVF babies born in Australia in 2016/17 after IVF treatments in 2016: 13,596
* Average age of women using IVF: 36
* Almost 60 per cent of babies born through IVF treatment were from frozen embryos
* About a quarter of embryo transfers result in live births in Australia
* About $30,000 spent on average on IVF before conceiving a child
(Source: UNSW 2016/17 report, released in September 2018)