Leading Science

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.

Our scientific director

Professor David Gardner leads the innovation and research program at Melbourne IVF and at Virtus Health. He is a distinguished Professor of Biosciences at the University of Melbourne and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. Over the past 30 years, his work includes the introduction of blastocyst culture which changed the way IVF was practiced throughout the world. His grading system of embryos remains the world standard. His aim is to optimise embryo development and selection to reduce the time taken to achieve a healthy baby.

Research at Melbourne IVF focuses on:

  • understanding the metabolic behaviour of embryo development
  • recreating the optimal environment for embryo growth as found in the uterus
  • techniques that assist selection of the embryos with the greatest potential for pregnancy

Breaking News - Anti-Oxidant study increases pregnancy rates

Professor David Gardner, Scientific Director at Melbourne IVF, won the 2019 Best Basic Science Award at the American Society of Reproductive Medicine’s (ASRM) annual congress. The study found that the presence of antioxidants during IVF significantly increased embryo quality and improved embryo transfer outcomes in patients 35 years and older. A combination of three antioxidants, acetyl-L-carnitine, N-acetyl-L-cysteine and alpha lipoic acid was added to the embryo culture media.

“The exciting findings show that implantation rates and ongoing pregnancy rates are significantly higher when we use antioxidant rich culture media in patients with advanced maternal age,” said Professor Gardner.

Following the results of this pilot study, Professor Gardner is now leading a larger study available to Melbourne IVF patients.

Read the full media release here...


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