IVF pioneer wins international recognition

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Monash in vitro fertilisation pioneer Professor Alan Trounson has been awarded the 2004 Bertarelli Foundation Award in Reproductive Health for his outstanding contribution to the field of assisted reproductive technologies.

Professor Trounson, director of the Monash Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories and Professor of Stem Cell Science, was presented his award in Germany by the Swiss-based foundation. The Bertarelli Foundation is an independent not-for-profit organisation that aims to promote understanding of the many dimensions of infertility.

Its award honours individuals or teams who, through their work or personal commitment, have raised awareness about the problem of infertility, promoted greater patient access to treatment, or broken new ground in scientific research or medical treatment.

Professor Trounson's research during the late 1970s established in vitro fertilisation (IVF) as a practical and repeatable method of treating human infertility. IVF has since been adopted worldwide.

His later research while director of Monash University's Centre for Early Human Development and the Monash Institute of Reproduction and Development has been fundamental to the continued developments in IVF that have made Monash a world leader in this field.

Professor Trounson said the opportunity to contribute to medical applications that could solve the dilemma of infertility, ease the burden of genetic disease for couples and promote safe parenthood had been a privilege.

"I have enjoyed the challenges and been rewarded with the benefits of our research, and have the great fortune to have worked with some of the best scientists and clinicians in the world," he said. "I hope that all couples will be able to enjoy the gift of safe parenthood and that my work has contributed by assisting the establishment of IVF and related technologies."

Bertarelli Foundation Chairwoman Mrs Dona Bertarelli Späth said Professor Trounson' research on embryo cryopreservation had enabled further research into cell and tissue preservation and different kinds of cold storage. "This in turn has ensured that thousands of infertile couples worldwide have been able to have children," she said.

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