The research behind our success
Research and development is at the heart of our work, and we are continually improving fertility treatment protocols in order to give the best chance of pregnancy.
Melbourne IVF has four specialist scientific departments:
Watch our scientists perform tasks part of an IVF cycle in our IVF labatory tour »
Our specialist embryology laboratories in East Melbourne, the Royal Women’s Hospital, Werribee and Mt Waverley are accredited by the Reproductive Technology Accreditation Committee (RTAC).
Here you will find a full range of associated services, including:
- In vitro fertilisation (IVF)
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
- Embryo culture and assessment
- Embryo cryopreservation (freezing)
- Embryo biopsy for Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD)
- Preparation of surgically collected sperm
- Egg freezing.
As part of our ongoing improvements to patient care, a representative of the embryology laboratory may contact you on day three after your egg collection to inform you of the number of oocytes that have been fertilised and the development of these embryos.
Leading the way in embryology research
Professor David Gardner
Professor David Gardner is a key Scientific Consultant and Advisor at Melbourne IVF. He has been involved in research to improve techniques associated with reproductive biology and assisted human conception. Much of his research has been successfully translated into clinical procedures, with the majority of human IVF clinics around the world utilising some of the technologies he developed.
As the namesake of blastocyst grading, the internationally used 'Gardner scale’, Prof Gardner has made significant contributions to the field of Reproductive Medicine for over three decades, and is well known for his pioneering work on the development and clinical introduction of blastocyst transfer.
Associate Professor David Edgar
A/Prof David Edgar is the Scientific Director at Melbourne IVF. He has been involved in IVF since 1985, when he moved from the field of cancer research to establish one of the first IVF laboratories in Scotland.
After relocating to Melbourne in 1994 he focused his work on a better understanding of the factors that lead to increased success rates in IVF, such as improved methods for growing embryos in the laboratory, selecting the best embryo for transfer and optimising the ability of embryos to survive cryopreservation.
David speaks regularly at national and international conferences and contributes to scientific papers and leading books and journals in the field.
Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis
Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) is a method of testing embryos for specific genetic and chromosomal abnormalities, so we can select chromosomally normal embryos, or embryos free of a specific known disorder prior to implantation and pregnancy.
Since its introduction, Melbourne IVF’s PGD program has helped hundreds of couples and individuals conceive healthy babies through IVF treatment.
At Melbourne IVF we can test the embryos in a number of different ways, depending on the particular circumstances. Our new technology, Advanced Embryo Selection, allows us to identify every one of the 23 pairs of chromosomes in a single cell, and is a significant advance on conventional PGD technology.
With Advanced Embryo Selection we can more accurately select the embryo with the greatest likelihood of pregnancy success. Over the past year, Advanced Embryo Selection has helped many of our patients conceive after years of unsuccessful IVF treatment.
Pioneering science in PGD
Dr Sharyn Stock-Myer
Dr Sharyn Stock-Myer leads the Pre-implantation genetics team at Melbourne IVF. She holds a doctorate in Human Genetics and has worked at Melbourne IVF for more than 12 years, leading the development of PGD for monogenic disorders. Throughout this time, Dr Stock-Myer has developed more than 120 specific single gene tests and helped hundreds of couples avoid the transmission of a serious genetic condition to their offspring. Dr Stock-Myer has also led the research project that saw the introduction of karyomapping, a new test to screen for known genetic disorders introduced at Melbourne IVF in 2014. Sharyn is passionate about genes and genetic disorders and is honoured to be able to assist couples in their dream to have a healthy child.
Dr Leeanda Wilton
Dr Leeanda Wilton pioneered the PGD program at Melbourne IVF until her retirement in mid-2015. Leeanda was part of the team responsible for developing the first single cell FISH (Fluorescent In-Situ Hybridisation) technology in London in the late 1980s, and in establishing the first PGD program in Australia in the 1990s.
Over many years, she has been actively involved in PGD research, and has published numerous peer-reviewed papers, presented many invited lectures at major international conferences, and been awarded a number of scientific prizes. She was an inaugural member of the Victorian Infertility Treatment Authority, and is currently an associate editor of Human Reproduction, the premier journal in reproductive biology.
Our dedicated pathology laboratory opened in October 2009 to provide a highly specialised service to Melbourne IVF. It is open seven days a week, to achieve high quality service and fast turnaround times.
We provide the following tests on site:
- Hormones: FSH, LH, estradiol, progesterone, hCG, testosterone, sex hormone binding globulin, prolactin, free T4 and TSH.
- Serological testing: Hepatitis BsAg, HCV, HIV, rubella, varicella and syphilis.
- Miscellaneous: AMH and inhibin B.
In-house pathology and diagnosis
The laboratory is managed by Gordon Kannemeyer, who has been involved in pathology for over 20 years. Gordon previously set up an extensive pathology network throughout South Africa and has managed and developed specialised laboratories in New Zealand and elsewhere in Australia.