The development of a new reproductive technique could help thousands of infertile couples conceive, thanks to a $90,500 grant awarded to the University of Adelaide by the National Health and Medical Research Council .
Dr Robert Gilchrist from the Discipline of Obstetrics & Gynaecology  is among 326 recipients in Australia to share in a $60 million funding pool announced this week for health and medical researchers.
South Australia has been awarded $3.5 million in total, of which the University of Adelaide receives $970,975 for two Training Fellowships, three Postgraduate Scholarships and two Development Grants.
A two-year project led by Dr Gilchrist, using the world's best technology, will investigate a new reproductive technology technique called oocyte (egg) in vitro maturation (IVM) which drastically reduces the use and cost of drugs and the stress to patients.
"Infertility comes at an enormous social and financial cost to Australian society and in vitro fertilisation requires expensive drugs to stimulate the ovary," Dr Gilchrist says. "The cost of these drugs to Medicare is expected to exceed $100 million per annum over the next decade, so we need to look at other options."
Dr Gilchrist's team has recently made a significant breakthrough using the oocyte IVM technology, improving success rates by approximately 50%.
Follow-up experiments to refine this technology, coupled with negotiations with a medical manufacturer to licence oocyte IVM, is expected to result in clinical trials within the next three years to treat infertility.
Other University of Adelaide researchers offered NHMRC grants this week include: