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Most women undergoing IVF treatment in Australia are paying for one or more add-on treatments, despite limited proof of their effectiveness, new research has found.

Key points:

  • Researchers found 82 per cent of women paid for an add-on during IVF treatment
  • Acupuncture, pre-implantation genetic testing and Chinese herbal medicine were the three most common treatments
  • Lead author Sarah Lensen said the evidence base for many of the add-on treatments was weak

Researchers from Australia, the United Kingdom and the Victorian IVF regulator VARTA found 82 per cent of 1,590 women surveyed had used an additional treatment while undergoing IVF.

Lead author and University of Melbourne researcher Sarah Lensen said the most common add-on treatments identified in the survey were acupuncture, pre-implantation genetic testing of embryos for abnormal chromosomes and Chinese herbal medicine.

But Dr Lensen said the evidence base for the treatments was “rather weak.”

“None of the add-ons that they use in Australia are supported by high quality, robust evidence that they help people to have a baby from IVF and that they're safe to use,” she said.

“There is... see more