BIG business has swooped on Victoria's infertility clinics, hoping to cash in as record numbers of childless couples turn to IVF.
New figures from the state's fertility watchdog show demand for IVF cycles at Victorian clinics swelled by 17 per cent last year.
There are predictions that patient numbers will grow further have private equity firms jostling for a slice of the lucrative market.
Melbourne IVF, which was once owned by doctors, yesterday confirmed a buyout by Sydney-based IVF Australia, which is controlled by an equity fund. Other capitalists are investigating industry giant Monash IVF, which has already sold off a $200 million chunk.
But several industry insiders predicted the cost of treatment could increase to prop up profits for investors. The industry shake-up comes as the Brumby Government seeks to pass controversial IVF legislation giving Victorians greater access to fertility treatment.
Clinic operators yesterday assured couples they would continue to be treated as patients, not customers, despite the buyouts.
Since the IVF industry is now privatised here in Australia perhaps we can lower our standards just like in San Antonia USA where only two years ago they were selling made-to-order embryos at a cost of about $10,000 US at an exclusive private IVF facility.
Just like selling cattle.