• Research and innovation

    Ensuring the future of reproductive medicine

Leaders in the medical & scientific community.

We are leaders in translational research and innovation.

We adopt an evidence-based and peer-reviewed approach to our research, ensuring we go from the bench to the patient bedside as quickly as possible with innovative technology and treatments.

Our research projects are aimed at advancing our field of healthcare so that we can deliver better services on the ground.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and embryo selection

Virtus is leading an international study to determine whether the AI technology that we developed in partnership with Harrison.ai and Vitrolife can shorten the time it takes a patient to fall pregnant.

The study is a world-first and evaluates the effectiveness of using AI in embryo selection. The AI performs a comprehensive three-dimensional assessment of the growth of embryos through all stages of development and then relates this data to the corresponding pregnancy outcomes. The system has taught itself to identify those embryos with the highest potential of developing a fetal heart, which is a good indicator of the likelihood of a successful pregnancy. The AI then allocates an EmbryoScore; the embryo with the highest score can be selected and transferred.

Antioxidants in embryo culture

Virtus research has found an embryo culture medium containing antioxidants increased fertilisation rates by 10% for patients undergoing intracytoplasmic sperm injection insemination (ICSI), in a clinical trial led by Melbourne IVF researchers.

The randomised controlled trial (RCT) led by Professor David Gardner, found that adding antioxidants to IVF culture media improved fertilisation rates for ICSI patients from 58% to 68%. The study results were presented at the 2023 European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) annual meeting in Copenhagen.

As a direct result of the higher fertilisation rates after ICSI, we saw an overall increase in blastocysts available for either transfer or cryopreservation (freeze) in the antioxidant group; in the antioxidant group there were 3.1 blastocysts, compared to 2.7 in the control group.

Investing in reproductive technologies

the power of microfluidics through a partnership with start-up, NeoGenix Biosciences. The insightful technologies design smart solutions to sperm selection, gamete handling, AI-based gamete detection, and fertilisation platforms.

Artificial Intelligence and Sperm Selection

One such solution is an artificial intelligence (AI) tool which can identify sperm in severely infertile men in seconds, instead of up to six hours that it takes scientists to do the same job.

The study shows the AI algorithm (developed by NeoGenix Biosciences), which uses AI-powered image analysis, can dramatically improve the time taken to find sperm, with higher accuracy, in men diagnosed with non-obstructive azoospermia (NOA) – the most severe form of male-factor infertility, affecting nearly 5% of infertile couples seeking fertility treatment.

The research team, led by IVFAustralia embryologist Dale Goss and NeoGenix Biosciences CEO, Steven Vasilescu, presented its ground-breaking results at the 2023 ESHRE annual meeting.

Genomic sequencing in IVF

In world-first research, Virtus Health, healthtech startup 23Strands and Monash University, are studying how whole genome sequencing can be used to achieve better patient outcomes with IVF medications.

The research has received a $3 million federal government grant from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

By understanding how a woman’s genes can affect how they respond to IVF medications, the study’s end goal is to create an AI-driven tool to deliver better targeted doses and improve IVF success rates. With this study, we aim to be the first IVF service provider in Australia to offer whole-genome sequencing and AI to augment reproductive decision making and help people achieve their dream of starting a family.

We are committed to medical education, ensuring the future of reproductive medicine and advancing the knowledge of infertility in the wider community. 

Our education programs are focused on creating the future leaders of the assisted reproductive services sector and sharing our expertise with GP networks.

Clinical training

We are a recognised centre for the training of registrars and fellows undertaking the sub-specialist training in reproductive medicine in Australia and enjoy close collaboration with Australia’s leading medical faculties. Our Sims IVF Clinic in Ireland is held in high esteem by Ireland’s Royal College of Surgeons as a training ground for future medical specialists.

This allows us to hand pick the finest graduates and nurture their skills as they become trained as fertility specialists, in turn allowing us to maintain the highest standards in all our clinics.

We actively encourage:

  • Secondments or attachments to Virtus Health clinicians for intensive training
  • Online access to clinical protocols and procedures, and training documents
  • Masters of Reproductive Medicine, an online course overseen by Professor Bill Ledger (IVFAustralia and UNSW)
  • Scientific and Diagnostic Training

GP Education

To ensure the best possible continuous patient care, we are committed to keeping GPs up to date with the latest developments and scientific advancements in fertility treatment, through ongoing GP education programs across the group. We also provide fertility training for GP practice nurses.