Fertility and family-forming journeys can be physically and mentally overwhelming. With so many appointments to attend and medical needs to address, it can be hard to find the time and the right resources to care for your emotional health, too. Carrot partner Virtus Health Australia agrees — that’s why they prioritize emotional support alongside fertility care at their 35 clinics. We talked with Kate Munnings, Group CEO of Virtus Health, about her organization’s commitment to mental well-being, the paths to parenthood Virtus Health supports, and her advice for anyone looking for a fertility clinic that meets their medical and emotional needs.
Tell me a little about Virtus Health.
Virtus Health brings together leading doctors, scientists, researchers, nurses, and operational staff to provide the highest quality of care across the full range of assisted reproductive services. One in six different-sex couples in Australia experience trouble getting pregnant, and we’re working towards a future in which everyone in the community regardless of sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or relationship status has the opportunity to create a family. Patient care, scientific and clinical leadership, and a passion for making a difference in people’s lives are always at the forefront of our minds. Our staff and specialists are all committed to helping people become parents.
How does Carrot and Virtus’ partnership improve access to assisted reproductive services for Carrot members in Australia?
We are thrilled to partner with Carrot. To us, this means increased access for thousands of Australians hoping to find personalized and supportive care as they embark on their fertility journey. Carrot members will receive exclusive benefits on Virtus Health’s wide range of fertility treatments, whether they come to us through IVFAustralia, Queensland Fertility Group, Melbourne IVF, or TasIVF.
What paths to parenthood do your clinics support?
For many, the journey to parenthood does not always happen as quickly as they expect. Fortunately, advances in assisted reproductive technology (ART) can make a real difference. We provide patients with a comprehensive range of fertility treatments and assessments, from simple treatments such as ovulation induction (using hormonal therapy to stimulate egg development and release) and intrauterine insemination (IUI), or more complex treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) and genetic testing. Our goal is to provide a fertility network that can support patients every step of the way.
We also offer a comprehensive and supportive donor program to assist anyone, including members of the LGBTQ+ community and single individuals, needing donor sperm, eggs, embryos, or gestational carrier (GC) services. For those not quite ready for parenthood or who are facing oncology treatment that may risk their future fertility, fertility preservation options are available to protect and preserve patients’ fertility potential — from freezing eggs, sperm, or embryos to preserving ovarian or testicular tissue.
How do you recommend individuals and couples manage the mental health side of fertility?
It’s so important as a fertility services provider to offer services that help tackle the emotional strain that often comes with fertility treatment. Our advice would be to take advantage of the counseling services offered alongside a treatment plan if available to you, or to seek out a therapist who specializes in fertility-related challenges. We believe emotional support can improve the outcomes of the treatment itself, which is why it’s offered free of charge as part of our services. Many people find it helpful to have someone really listen without giving “advice” and to be able to talk to someone outside of their usual circle of friends and family with whom they can be completely honest.
What do you recommend individuals and couples look for in a fertility clinic?
When it comes to choosing a fertility clinic, it’s important to consider ones that offer a wide range of services and are equipped to treat the most complicated cases. Find a clinic that provides comprehensive fertility testing as well as alternative fertility treatments before starting IVF. It certainly also helps to find a doctor that the individual or couple connects with and who has the right specialty area required if they already know what fertility factors are affecting their journey.
What advice do you have for members of the LGBTQ+ community looking to start their fertility journey?
We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to grow their family. Look for a reputable organization that prides itself on diversity and inclusion and has a strong donor program. Clinics that offer a comprehensive range of both fertility treatments and assessments alongside their donor program are a great place to start. At all of our clinics, we strive to ensure everyone feels welcome. Our doors are always open to have a chat and find out how we can help members achieve their dreams of having a family.
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If you’re a fertility care or family-forming service provider interested in supporting Carrot members or want to learn more about working with Carrot, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.