Virtus Health, Australia’s largest IVF provider, has bought Canberra Fertility Centre for $3.5 million

The Canberra Fertility Centre has been bought by Virtus Health for $3.5 million. Photo: Supplied

The Canberra Fertility Centre has been bought by Virtus Health for $3.5 million. Photo: Supplied


The new owner of the Canberra Fertility Centre says the same specialists will continue working there and there will be no changes to fees.

It also intends to campaign for the introduction of paid surrogacy in Australia, as well as sex selection for “family balance”.

Virtus Health, Australia’s largest IVF provider, announced on Friday it had bought Canberra Fertility Centre for $3.5 million.

The Canberra Fertility Centre has delivered more than 7500 babies since it opened in May, 1986.

Virtus Health chief executive Sue Channon said the doctors remained independent contractors with the company.

“That allows them to have any kind of practice they choose to have. So if a doctor wants to have 50 per cent fertility and 50 per cent obstetrics and gynaecology, that’s absolutely fine,” she said.

“What we’re there to do is support the infrastructure they need to treat their patients and provide their patients with the best possible outcome.”

The Canberra Fertility Centre has recently campaigned for fertility centres in Australia to be able to offer paid surrogacy as an option and for a ban on advertising for surrogates lifted.

Ms Channon said Virtus Health also supported those aims, as well as trying to legalise sex selection for family balance, a practice that was not allowed in Australia. It was, however, legal to use sex selection to avoid hereditary diseases.

“When we were allowed to do it, probably 13 years ago, we did sex selection and it was almost always for family balancing where families had four boys and wanted a girl or vice versa,” she said.

“Patients are now going in quite large numbers offshore to get sex selection. So why force people offshore to pay very, very high sums for sex selection, family balance, paid surrogacy when they can access very, very safe programs here in Australia?”

Ms Channon said sex selection happened by patients having an IVF cycle and through taking a single cell from each embryo to test for sex. The preferred embryo was then transferred.

Canberra Fertility Centre’s scientific director and former owner, Dr Chris Copeland, said the centre was well-respected in Canberra, with the number of patients attending its clinic growing every year.

The centre’s current market share is about  35 per cent of the ACT market.

“We take pride in providing the most technologically advanced Assisted Reproductive Technology Services in a caring, supportive environment,” Dr Copeland said. “Our experienced team aims to offer every patient the very best chance for a successful pregnancy and healthy baby.”