Female reproductive health to benefit from new research partnership between UNSW and City Fertility

Female reproductive health to benefit from new research partnership between UNSW and City Fertility

City Fertility is pleased to partner with UNSW in the advancement of women’s reproductive health. This research partnership forms part of City Fertility’s continued growth in Australia focusing on excellence in reproductive medicine, research and pregnancy outcomes.

Two of Australia’s leading researchers in the area of women’s reproductive health will head up the new collaborative partnership between the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and City Fertility. Professors Robert Gilchrist and Bill Ledger are leading the research partnership which aims to focus on improving fertility outcomes for women struggling with infertility.


In-Vitro Maturation (IVM)

One of the key projects underway is in oocyte (egg) in vitro maturation (IVM) – an approach that reduces and potentially eliminates the use of drugs in IVF.

IVM involves collecting eggs from a woman in an immature state and maturing them in the laboratory. Whereas in IVF, egg maturation is induced inside the woman’s body with the help of hormone injections.

Professor Gilchrist said that for couples facing infertility, IVF is currently the treatment of choice, but he is leading an international consortium of scientists to develop a new advanced form of IVM that is cheaper and less invasive than in the past, providing a real alternative to standard IVF for suitable patients.

“While IVM has been around since the 1960s like IVF has, it has been less efficient, however now following many years of research we have been able to improve IVM efficiency and we are on the brink of being able to offer an advanced form of IVM,” Professor Gilchrist said.

“With IVM you don’t treat the woman with hormones you treat the egg in the laboratory, so women benefit from a quicker, easier and cheaper form of IVF treatment with less hormones and needles.”

Professor Gilchrist said IVM is well suited for women who are under the age of 39 and who have ovarian cysts, high ovarian reserve, have serious health conditions like a cancer diagnosis and require immature eggs to be removed, and/or for those women with a strong fear of needles.

City Fertility is working towards implementing this new advanced form of IVM in 2022.


Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS)

Another study underway is a controlled ovarian stimulation (COS) study to assist women who produce a poor number of eggs when being treated with IVF.

Professor Ledger who is also a fertility specialist with City Fertility said approximately 10 per cent of women undergoing COS produce an unexpected sub-optimal number of eggs and so there is still an unmet need for an effective way to treat these poor responding women.

“Our new study – the Elonva Flare Protocol (EFP) – may be an innovative approach to tackle this issue,” Professor Ledger said.

“We are hoping it will lead to a higher oocyte (egg) yield and improved pregnancy rate for these women.”

Professor Ledger said it was exciting for City Fertility to be working with UNSW and some of the country’s leading women’s reproductive health researchers to advance these studies into clinical trials.

“With one in six couples in Australia and New Zealand suffering infertility, we are hopeful to adopt these new treatments as preferred/mainstream options in the not-too-distant future,” he said.

Professor Ledger is a fertility specialist with City Fertility, Head and Professor of Obstetrics & Gynaecology UNSW School of Women’s & Children’s Health, and Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at UNSW. He holds over 30 years’ experience in fertility, obstetrics and gynaecology with specialist qualifications in reproductive medicine and infertility (CREI). He has published over 300 peer-reviewed papers and journal articles and recently joint-authored the 2020 edition of The Oxford Textbook of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Professor Gilchrist is an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and Director of Research in the UNSW School of Women’s & Children’s Health. He is a translational research scientist, specialising in oocyte and reproductive biology and is an international leader in oocyte-somatic cell communication, with prominent clinical and commercial activities.

If you would like to know more about our services and the fertility treatment options available, please feel free to book online or contact our friendly team on 1300 354 354 and they will be able to assist you.


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