DECLINING fertility in the community has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, a Border expert in the field says.
Albury doctor and gynaecologist Dr Scott Giltrap said people with compromised fertility were already waiting longer to start their families before the global pandemic hit early last year.
Dr Giltrap said sperm counts were down 25 per cent and more younger women now than ever before were facing fertility problems.
"Now with COVID people haven't been able to go out and meet people at the pub," he said.
"All of a sudden they're two years older and they haven't got a partner at 36.
"There's a lot of interest in egg freezing since COVID and thankfully there's good technology around now."
Dr Giltrap, who recently established Albury IVF in Dean Street, said the whole industry had changed since he brought IVF to Albury during 1988.
He said it was now common for many doctors to approach infertility with IVF only.
"Many of our patients get pregnant from good medical and surgical management of their subfertility without requiring IVF," Dr Giltrap said.
"At Albury IVF the assessment of a couple's infertility can include examination by the doctor, ultrasound examinations and requesting appropriate tests and analysis.
"Treatment is then directed at the underlying cause of the couple's problem.
"There are many treatment options and IVF is only required in some cases."
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Dr Giltrap said the corporatisation of IVF in Australia had driven down competition and pushed up the cost.
He said he was concerned rural and regional people were being priced out of starting families.
"It's nothing to be $5000 out of pocket and have to pay $10,000 up front at some clinics," he said.
"In a country population the wages aren't the same as people earn in the city for many people."
Having founded Reproductive Medicine Albury in West Albury in 1988, Dr Giltrap sold it to the Monash IVF Group nine years ago.
He opened Albury IVF during August.
"This is a new clinic with a team of experienced people who have worked successfully together for many years," Dr Giltrap said.
"Our results when we worked together in private practice in previous years have been very good and we remain committed to these positive outcomes at Albury IVF."
Albury IVF employs six nurses, three scientists, five administration staff and soon three doctors including a specialist in endometriosis.
Clients are drawn from throughout the Riverina, North East and Melbourne.
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