What will I require to book an appointment?
A referral is not necessary, but a referral will enable you to claim some of the fees for your consultation back from Medicare.
A referral from your GP will last 12 months and one from a Specialist will last 3 months.
To be seen for a Gynaecological condition, one referral is needed. For a Fertility consultation, it is ideal for both partners to be seen together meaning that referrals for both partners will be required.
What are the costs?
Prof Homer’s fees for consulting and for undertaking treatments are extremely competitive. As part of his initial consultation for Fertility problems and for many Gynaecological problems, Prof Homer undertakes a detailed pelvic ultrasound scan to evaluate the ovaries and the womb. This scan is an ideal opportunity to highlight important pelvic structures to patients, especially the womb, ovaries and their contained follicles, and to begin educating patients about how Fertility and Gynaecological treatments work. Costs for the scan are included in the consultation fee.
Information on consultation fees are available from our office. We encourage you to enquire about our costs and to make comparisons, bearing in mind the unique breadth of Sub-specialist Expertise and the up-to-date Knowledge, as well as the Personalised and Individualised care offered by Prof Homer.
Please note that private health insurance typically only covers the costs of in-hospital services (e.g. surgical operations) and does not cover the costs of consultations.
We accept all major credit cards and have EFTPOS facilities. Our practice uses the latest in cloud technology that allows reimbursement claims to be immediately lodged with Medicare.
Do you offer appointments outside of normal work hours?
We are acutely aware of time pressures during the week. To make it more convenient for you, we therefore offer appointments outside of normal work hours at no extra cost. Appointments are available after 5pm during weekdays and on Saturdays. Prof Homer also undertakes scans for monitoring fertility treatments (e.g. IVF) before 8am in order to minimise disruptions to your week.
Does your practice offer bulk-billed and no-gap services?
This is not a bulk-billing service. However, we are very conscious of how expensive health care can be and do endeavour as far as possible to keep your costs to a minimum. There may be some appointments, treatments and even operations that can be bulk-billed at our discretion. If you have private health insurance, we will try our best to keep charges for Prof Homer’s component of your treatment within your health fund’s “known gap” threshold so that your out-of-pocket costs can be minimised.
Although we are able to control our component of treatment costs, we do not control the costs for other aspects of your treatment such as hospital and anaesthetic fees. Some or all of those fees may be covered by your private health fund depending upon your level of cover. We also do not control the costs of services rendered by Queensland Fertility Group (QFG) during fertility treatments (see next FAQ below).
How are the fees for Fertility Treatments broken down?
For some fertility treatments like Ovulation Induction, tablets alone may be required. The costs for your treatment are then comprised entirely of the cost of the services provided by Prof Homer.
For treatments involving Artificial Insemination and IVF, a specialty Embryology Laboratory is required for preparing sperm, fertilising eggs and culturing embryos (see my Sections on Artificial Insemination and IVF/ICSI Treatments for more information). Queensland Fertility Group (QFG) owns the largest lab of this kind in Queensland and Prof Homer utilises these services for fertility treatments as it is not feasible for individual specialists to own their own laboratory. QFG determine the fees for the services they provide and these are paid directly to QFG. As an example, the total cost of a cycle of IVF treatment is made up of the following:
- Specialist fees
- QFG fees
- Hospital fees
- Anaesthetic fees (for Egg Pickup)
Prof Homer has control over the fees for his services (Specialist fees) but not the fees charged by QFG, the hospital or the anaesthetist. You will find that Prof Homer’s component of the fees is very competitive with other providers.
Who will undertake my fertility treatment?
Prof Homer will personally undertake all aspects of your care. He will meticulously ensure that your treatment cycle is fully optimised. He will keep you updated and will maintain regular contact throughout treatment. This is very important for treatments like IVF which last around 3 weeks, and which have a number of key stages (see my section on IVF/ICSI Treatments). During this time, important decisions and subtle changes are often required to ensure the very best outcomes and the highest chance of success. Identifying when changes are needed, and ensuring they are effectively implemented, are best achieved if the same person is overseeing all your care. Whilst undergoing treatment with Prof Homer, your management will not be fragmented between different people such as external ultrasound scanners, nurses or other specialists in order to avoid missing crucially important details.
What is Individualised and Personalised care and is it important?
These two elements are critical for producing the best treatment results. Regarding Fertility treatments, it refers to a collective approach that maximises your success.
Specialists often use these terms loosely, but what does it really mean?
This means that treatment is tailored to your specific needs. This is determined after a thorough evaluation of your own unique history and any prior treatments and tests you may have had. Individualising care requires extensive expertise and up-to-date knowledge on the part of your treating Specialist.
Personalised care means that your specialist personally delivers all aspects of your care, personally interprets your results and personally plans the next stages of treatment with you.
For Fertility treatments, this is critically important because these treatments are made up of a number of steps that are conducted over 2-3 weeks (see my sections on Artificial Insemination and IVF for more information). It is absolutely crucial for each step to be conducted properly if the next step is to work, and ultimately, for your treatment to succeed. The best way to achieve this is if one highly trained expert oversees each and every step of treatment, and for every step to be undertaken with the utmost skill. If early steps are undertaken poorly, or if important information is missed, later steps will falter and ultimately, treatment will fail.
It is important to understand the difference between truly Personalised care and other models of treatment. In other models, multiple personnel are involved. For instance, one doctor might undertake your first consultation, nurses or external ultrasound scanners might undertake your IVF monitoring, yet another doctor might undertake your egg pick-up and yet another doctor might undertake your embryo transfer. It can be seen that in this model, anywhere from 2-4 (and sometimes even more) different health care providers are involved in your care, each with a different level of expertise. Because so many people are involved, it is possible that important information might get overlooked, or may not be passed from one person to the next, ultimately interrupting the smooth flow needed for the best outcomes.
What are the requirements for Individualised and Personalised care?
To deliver individualised and personalised care, specialists must be highly skilled and knowledgeable and must commit sufficient time to conducting your treatment.
- Expertise and Experience.
These are essential attributes for a specialist to be able to critically evaluate your unique circumstances and to tailor treatment to suit you. These attributes are determined by your specialist’s training and number of years of experience. CREI Sub-specialists are the most highly accredited in the field of Infertility and Surgery (see next FAQ). Prof Homer also has over 20 years’ experience practising Gynaecology and Infertility. He worked in the top Fertility clinics and with the leading Fertility Sub-specialists in the UK.
- Up-to-date knowledge.
The treatment provided by your specialist is only as good as their expertise, their knowledge, and by how up-to-date they remain with new developments. Wrong advice about unnecessary treatments and so-called add-ons can over-inflate your treatment cost without improving your chance of success.
Prof Homer is one of Australia’s leaders in Gynaecology and Infertility. He is regularly invited to give talks at conferences about the latest developments in Infertility and Gynaecology, he regularly writes and publishes papers on Infertility and Gynaecology, he has a PhD in Fertility research, he is UQ’s first Full Professor of Reproductive Medicine, he set up and directs Queensland’s first oocyte research laboratory where he is actively engaged in research and he is Associate Editor with the Australia & New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology.
- Allowing ample time per patient.
Prof Homer believes in longer consultation times to ensure that every single aspect of your history is fully explored, that you understand your problem, that you understand the meaning of test results and importantly, that you understand what kind of treatment is being proposed, why it is being proposed and what it would involve. If your consultation is brief and hurried, important information will be overlooked.
- Regular progress updates and patient contact.
Treatments like IVF are not “one-size-fits-all” treatments. Over 2-3 weeks, these highly involved treatments require continuous expert re-evaluation and often, changes to management plans as new (and often unpredicted) developments arise. Prof Homer personally undertakes all your ultrasound scans and evaluations during treatment. He regularly updates you with results so that the next steps of your treatment can be meticulously planned.
What is CREI?
CREI stands for Certificate in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. It is the Sub-specialty accreditation in Infertility in Australia that is undertaken after completion of general Specialisation in Obstetrics & Gynaecology. CREI is administered and regulated by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (RANZCOG).
CREI indicates that a doctor has completed a minimum of 3 extra years of full-time training in all aspects of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, such as IVF, Recurrent Miscarriage, Laparoscopic Surgery and Hysteroscopic Surgery. It has been estimated that a total of 15 years of medical training is required to become a CREI Sub-specialist. CREI Sub-specialists are required by RANZCOG to remain up-to-date with the latest developments and to demonstrate Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in Infertility.
In Australia and New Zealand, doctors who have completed general specialisation in Obstetrics & Gynaecology have the letters FRANZCOG after their names. General specialists who qualified in the UK have the letters MRCOG after their name.
Some doctors undertake online Masters Courses in Reproductive Medicine. These are university-run online courses. These courses do not provide clinical training in Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, are not Royal College-accredited, and are very different from Royal College-accredited CREI Sub-specialisation.
Prof Homer is the only one in Queensland who is an accredited REI Sub-specialist with both the Australian & New Zealand Royal College (CREI) and the British Royal College (CCSST) of Obstetrics & Gynaecology. He is also a general specialist with both Colleges (MRCOG and FRANZCOG).
Is IVF available in the public sector in Queensland?
In Queensland, all IVF and other assisted reproductive treatments like Artificial Insemination (or IUI) are currently undertaken exclusively in the private sector. Neither IVF nor IUI is available in the public sector. Prof Homer is the only CREI-accredited Subspecialist in Queensland who undertakes a public fertility clinic at the Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital (RBWH). He is the Head of Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility at the RBWH. Unfortunately, this clinic is not able to offer IVF or IUI.
What do titles like Professor and Doctor mean?
Full Professorship is the highest academic ranking in a university. In Australia, the ranking below Full Professor is Associate Professor (A/Prof or Reader) and the ones below that are Senior Lecturer and Lecturer.
Doctor is a different title that confusingly, has different meanings depending on the circumstances. In university circles (academia), “Doctor” refers to the completion of a Doctor of Philosophy (or PhD). A PhD is the highest academic degree conferred by a university. A PhD requires a minimum of 3 years of full-time research. Universities also offer a range of shorter degree courses such as MD, MPhil, and Masters.
Unlike a university PhD doctorate, in Medicine, the title Doctor refers to the completion of an undergraduate medical degree (e.g. MBBS). This is what most members of the public understand “Doctor” to mean.
Prof Homer is a Doctor of Medicine (MBBS with Honours) and also holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Fertility (PhD). During his PhD, Prof Homer studied intricate molecular networks in eggs. His work led to the discovery and understanding of key elements in eggs that underpin egg quality. This landmark work was published in some of the world’s most prestigious journals, such as Genes & Development and Science. There are extremely few medical Infertility Sub-specialists who also hold a university PhD.
Is Prof Homer available for giving talks to GPs, other health professionals and the public?
Prof Homer is actively involved in research, education and teaching.
He is always very willing to speak to GPs, other health professionals and the general public. Please enquire if you would like him to speak at one of your events.
Below is a sample of the GP forums and public-speaking events that Prof Homer has recently been invited to speak at:
- Managing Menopause
Australian Medical Forum’s General Medicine & Acute Medicine Update Refresher, Brisbane, 2019
- Egg Quality and Fertility Preservation
GP Masterclass in Reproductive Medicine Education, 2019
- Preconception and IVF – Ensuring the healthiest start to conception
UQ Health Matters Lecture Series 2018: Nature vs. Nurture – How the first 1000 Days affect lifelong health
Metro North GP Alignment Program, Gynaecology Workshop, Herston, 2018
Metro North GP Alignment Program, Gynaecology Workshop, Caboolture, 2017
- The ART revolution: IVF now and in the future
GP Masterclass, 2017
- Female Fertility Preservation: Basic biology, new developments and clinical practice
RBWH O&G Grand Rounds, Brisbane, 2017
- Abnormal Menstrual Disorders and PCO: Who, How, When?
GP Masterclass, 2017
- Folliculogenesis and Oocyte Activation
Merck Serono CREI Trainees’ Workshop, 2017
- UQ Global Leadership Series – Frontiers in Fertility, 2016
For a more comprehensive list of the talks that Prof Homer has given, please see the section on Talks.