The CRE WHiRL research stream Infertility is led by Professors Robert Norman, Ben Mol and Martha Hickey.

(If you would like further information about a research topic please contact the relevant project lead.)

Infertility, defined as the inability to achieve pregnancy despite 12 months unprotected intercourse, affects around 15% of couples, and is increasing due in part to advancing maternal age. In Australia, access to Medicare funding has promoted IVF use, encouraged by the rise of large, for profit companies, many now internationally owned, with concerns that the values and drivers for privately listed companies may differ to those of public health endeavors. This is compounded by a lack of guidelines and poor independent consumer information and empowerment strategies.

This research theme brings together world experts in reproductive medicine, gynaecology, endocrinology, consumer advocacy, epidemiology, evidence synthesis, guideline and translation leads, with experience in policy change, and broader expertise in International networks. [American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), the European Society of Human Reproduction (ESHRE) and the Asia Pacific Initiative on Reproduction (ASPIRE)]. Experiences, knowledge and needs of Australian women and their partners in infertility are not well understood. This is relevant given current changes in practice and escalating expensive infertility treatment use, higher than comparable westernised public health systems such as the Netherlands. This seems most evident in unexplained infertility, where 60% of the 76,000 Australian IVF cycles per year are for “unexplained and mild male infertility” compared to 32% in the UK, 25% in The Netherlands and 13% in the USA. To date, in Australia, attempts to combat low value care and limit inappropriate growth in IVF use, have failed.

CRE-WHIRL will explore causes of infertility through funded discovery research, explore trends and current clinical infertility practice through linked data sets, undertake extensive consumers and health professional engagement on knowledge, needs, gaps and priorities, adapt and validate risk prediction models, undertake vital secondary research (network meta-analysis) and co-develop guidelines. This work will inform health professionals, women and their partners and policy makers on best evidence-based practice and enable Australian to align care to other leading OECD countries. We anticipate a reduction in low value IVF care, improved patient experience, reduced risks and savings of up to 20% of current expenditure or $100M annually.

Seeking participants: Experiences of Infertility & Fertility Treatment study.

Do you have experience of fertility problems, infertility and / or fertility treatment?

Are you aged 20-55 years?


Experiences of infertility and fertility treatment among women and gender diverse individuals assigned female at birth: A qualitative research and online resource development project

We would like to interview you to understand what it is like to experience fertility problems, infertility, and / or fertility treatment. We would like to hear about how you first came to realise you had fertility problems, if you have sought medical or other help, your experiences with fertility treatment (if you have tried this), how infertility has impacted on your health, relationships and personal life, and anything else you’d like to share.

Based on information we gather, we will produce online resources detailing the experiences of women and gender diverse people assigned female at birth of infertility and/or fertility treatment, aimed at supporting and informing others going through these experiences.

Interested? Contact us on (03) 9925 2800 or complete the Expression of Interest form below and a member of the research team will contact you.