Diagnostics & Advanced Science

At Virtus Health, we provide our patients with in-house testing and diagnostics to make it easier for them to manage appointments, and to ensure we offer the most advanced diagnostic fertility assessments and analysis available. We also offer diagnostic services in infertility to specialists outside our network, including other fertility groups, GPs and obstetricians.

Virtus Health has the largest network of scientists and embryologists in Australia dedicated to improving Assisted Reproductive Technologies and producing better patient outcomes. With over 150 scientists including many that are internationally renowned experts in their field conducting pioneering research to provide solutions for the worldwide IVF community, you can be assured that you are accessing the world’s leading IVF science.

Our network of world-class laboratories provides access to a comprehensive range of fertility related diagnostic procedures and investigations. Many of these are unique to the Virtus Health laboratories in Australia and in some cases we are one of only a select few highly specialised laboratories in the world offering such a service. We offer the greatest variety of in-house diagnostic tests in Australia unsurpassed by any other IVF clinic.

Fertility Related Pathology

Our highly efficient state-of-the-art analysers and laboratories provide a comprehensive range of highly specialised hormones and infectious disease tests including Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH) and Activated Natural Killer Cells assay (NK).

Andrology

The Virtus Health network has nearly 20 sites staffed by highly skilled Andrologists for the purpose of semen collection and analysis with reference to the WHO laboratory manual for the examination and processing of human semen. This ensures the most comprehensive analysis performed to a globally recognised standard featuring  convenience, accuracy and efficiency. Some of our specialised investigations and techniques include:

  • Sperm Chromatin Structure Assay (SCSA) / Sperm DNA Fragmentation
  • Automated Andrology
  • Digital High Magnification Imaging
  • Sperm Antibodies
  • Cryopreservation
  • Sperm aneuploidy by FISH

Embryology

We are the first network of laboratories in Australia to use the ICSI and Digital High Magnification techniques to aid patients with severe sperm defects, and to provide highly efficient treatment options. We also were the first scientific network in Australia to offer polarised light analysis of oocytes (Polscope and Oosight) to identify early anomalies in the egg and we are working to extend these techniques to the analysis of sperm as well. We are also recognised as world leaders with successful cryopreservation of eggs and embryos. Currently, we have initiated a multi-State study into embryo morphokinetics by looking at embryo development data obtained from time-lapse culture.

Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD)

Melbourne IVF established Australia's first PGD programme in 1997 with Australia’s leading PGD scientist, Dr Leeanda Wilton and maintain our position as world leaders in the field. Dr Wilton continues to achieve unprecedented success in this area, and our network of specialised laboratories are able to access this service that enables the detection of a wide range of specific genetic diseases.

In 2011, we launched aneuploidy screening by array CGH known as Advanced Embryo Selection or AES. This technique is vastly superior to the conventional FISH (fluorescent in-situ hybridisation) technique for embryo screening and provides much more data. With results being available in less than 30 hours, we have eliminated the need to freeze embryos, making the IVF process more efficient and quicker - subsequently increasing pregnancy rates.

Prenatal and Adult Genetics

Our genetics service continues to grow, receiving recognition across Australia for its increasingly impressive test turnaround, professionalism and high level of attention to detail. Our extensive range of fertility related chromosomal and DNA investigations include:

  • Blood karyotype
  • Tissue karyotype
  • Sperm aneuploidy by FISH
  • Prenatal (CVS and amniocentesis) karyotype by aCGH with interphase FISH
  • CF screening (30 mutations)
  • AZF deletions (AZF a,b and c)
  • Fragile X screening

We are investing heavily in cytogenetics and DNA analysis to ensure we can provide the latest technological advances in this area.

Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) using the Panorama Test from Natera in the US is also now available through Melbourne IVF, Queensland Fertility Group (QFG) and IVFAustralia. This is a non-invasive blood test that is safe for both the mother and her fetus and is suitable for use after just 9-weeks’ gestation. The unique methodology of the Panorama prenatal test utilises single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) technology and is much more efficient and accurate than the counting or quantitative methods used by all other available prenatal tests.

The Panorama prenatal test enables first trimester detection of multiple chromosome abnormalities with high accuracy for trisomy 21 (Down syndrome), trisomy 13 (Patau syndrome), trisomy 18 (Edwards syndrome), monosomy X (Turner’s syndrome) and triploidy using fetal cell-free DNA found in maternal blood.

The Panorama prenatal test provides superior coverage and the best detection and accuracy over any other current screening methods. It provides individualised risk scores for aneuploidy at 13, 18, 21, X and Y with the highest accuracy among non-invasive prenatal tests currently available. The high accuracy of detection across all chromosomes detected and the ability to provide accurate results at 9-weeks’ gestation along with the ability to detect triploidy are unique to the Panorama test.

Quality

Our laboratories have attained the highest levels of accreditation necessary to practice in Australia, including working to ISO9001:2008 standards across our operations and to the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) standards for andrology and pathology where applicable. We also follow the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines and our embryology labs are accredited by the Reproductive Technology Accreditation Committee (RTAC).

Professional Leadership

Virtus Health Clinicians and Staff hold senior industry positions:

  • A/ Prof Peter Illingworth - Immediate Past President of the Fertility Society of Australia
  • Professor Michael Chapman -Vice President of the Fertility Society of Australia
  • Donna Close (RN) - Secretary of the Fertility Society of Australia
  • Dr Lyndon Hale - on the Board of the Fertility Society of Australia and chair of the IVF Directors Group
  • Jacqui Irving (Senior Scientist) - on the Board of the Fertility Society of Australia and Immediate Past Chair of Scientists in Reproductive Technology (SIRT)
  • Sandra Kennedy (RN) - on the Board of the Fertility Society of Australia and Immediate Past Chair of Fertility Nurses of Australia (FNA)
  • Keith Harrison (QFG Scientific Director) - Chair of Reproductive Technology Accreditation Committee (RTAC)
  • Andrew Shine - Vice President of Pathology Australia

Contact

To discuss the diagnostic and advanced science services we provide in more detail, please Contact Us.

Career Opportunities

Interested in joining our team? Read about our current opportunities for fertility specialists.
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© Virtus Group 2013