16 September 2019

IVF pioneer receives Honorary Life Membership

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Melbourne IVF

Professor John McBain, founder of Melbourne IVF, has received the Fertility Society of Australia (FSA) Honorary Life Membership for his outstanding contribution to the science of human reproduction and Assisted reproductive technology (ART), presented yesterday at the 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting of the FSA.

Sue Channon, Chief Executive Officer at Virtus Health, leading fertility service provider including Melbourne IVF, IVFAustralia, TasIVF and Queensland Fertility Group, spoke about Professor McBain’s outstanding 40 year career.

This award is recognition of Professor McBain’s distinguished career, and acknowledgement of his passion and leadership during many celebrated occasions throughout IVF history,” said Sue Channon.

“John was part of the Melbourne Egg Project, the medical team responsible for the pioneering work that resulted in Australia’s first IVF baby, Candice Reed, born in 1980, the third IVF birth in the world.

“Often creating headlines for his ground breaking work, he was in charge of ‘Operation Gorilla’ which resulted in the birth of the first gorilla born using assisted reproductive technology (ART) at Melbourne Zoo.  

“John’s career highlights have continuously pushed IVF progress, but not just medical boundaries, his legacy includes overhauling ART law back in the 1990s when he successfully challenged the restrictions of Victorian legislation that limited IVF to married women.

“At this time his passion for making IVF accessible to all resulted in a landmark victory, with the government allowing access to infertility treatment, including IVF, for single women, de facto couples and women in same sex relationships.

“Born in Glasgow, John graduated in medicine from Glasgow University, and trained in obstetrics and gynaecology in Scotland. He came to Australia in 1976 to join the group of doctors researching IVF, as part of which he developed programs that led to safe, successful super-ovulation.

“John’s prominent career is littered with distinguished awards, in 2013 he received an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his work in reproductive medicine and in 2008 he was awarded the Women’s highest honour, the Woodward Family Medal of excellence.  

“We are incredibly proud of John, who played a founding role in the formation of Melbourne IVF. We are honoured that he continues to play an important role with the Virtus Health team, providing ongoing passion and expertise to research and deliver medical science for fertility patients,’ said Sue Channon.