The University of Sydney today announced a major initiative in the field of fertility research and treatment, as it takes over ownership of Westmead IVF Pty Limited, the company which operates the private fertility clinic at Westmead Hospital, Westmead Fertility Centre.
Westmead IVF has been given to the University as part of a major gift from a foundation established by one of the University's own alumni and staff members, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Brian Trudinger. The fertility service was established 30 years ago and Professor Trudinger has been custodian for the past 22 years. It has the express aim of making high quality fertility treatment accessible to all patients at the lowest possible cost.
As well as a 100 percent share in Westmead IVF Pty Ltd, the gift includes a $10.4 million cash donation which will establish both a chair in reproductive endocrinology and infertility and endow a research program in maternal foetal medicine. The company will continue to support ongoing world-class research in the field at the University. This would collocate the two phases of reproduction, falling pregnant and carrying a pregnancy to a successful outcome.
The University's Vice-Chancellor, Dr Michael Spence, said this gift represented a unique opportunity to build on Sydney Medical School's existing strength in reproductive, maternal and child health while at the same time providing the best possible clinical services to patients.
"By combining research into the beginnings of life, fertility, conception, the foetus, pregnancy and birth with a clinical facility for reproductive technology services, this gift will enable us to deepen and broaden that research and to return Australia to a position of world leadership in the field of assisted reproductive technologies. This gift is an outstanding example of a donation to the INSPIRED fundraising Campaign and donors' capacity to transform the landscape in a particular area of research.
"What makes this gift particularly appropriate is that the University and Westmead IVF share a commitment to serving the community and to quality and equity of access. It also gives us an opportunity to work even more closely with the Western Sydney Local Health District to advance the health of the community by aligning research and clinical treatment, a model which has been clearly shown to lead to innovation and better health care for patients."
The Dean of Sydney Medical School, Professor Bruce Robinson, expressed his sincere gratitude for the gift, saying, "This gift brings together the link between clinical service, research and teaching for which Sydney Medical School and the University are renowned".
Professor Trudinger sees the University as the natural guardian of a fertility service with core values of quality, accessibility and scientific enquiry.
"The strength of the University in research and academic activity would be a great benefit to the hospital. I am delighted the University has so enthusiastically embraced this venture," he said.
The gift has been welcomed by both the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) and Westmead Hospital. Emeritus Professor Stephen Leeder, Board Chair of WSLHD, said improved health outcomes resulted from partnerships in a continuum of translational research from the laboratory to the bedside.
"This endowment and gift will enable the University of Sydney and the Western Sydney Local Health District at Westmead Hospital to strengthen their contribution to providing the best possible care at the beginning of life. Professor Trudinger and his colleagues have done superbly in this field and I am confident they will continue to do so through future research and and clinical service," he said.
This is the University's second major new initiative in health research in as many months, following the launch in June of the new Charles Perkins Centre, which aims to ease the burden of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and related conditions by generating collaborative interdisciplinary research and education that translates into real-world solutions.
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