Keep the hope: celebrating 40 Years of IVF in Australia as education key for the next 40

Press Release Tuesday 23 June 2020

“Keep the Hope” is the message from Australia’s first IVF baby, Candice Thum (née Reed), as Australia marks its 40 year milestone of IVF today, June 23, 2020.

More than 200,000 Australians have been born from assisted conception in the last four decades, the equivalent of one child in every classroom across the country.

However, while the technology has changed, Candice, now Patron of ACCESS Australia, the national infertility support charity, says one thing that has not changed is the human relationship with fertility.

“When my parents went through IVF it was actually a case of collecting a single egg on a natural cycle and hoping. IVF was miraculous then and despite the technological advances, IVF is miraculous now.

“But for the one-in-six Australians who will face fertility issues, the hardships, the heartache and the emotional journey they’ll go through, hasn’t changed at all,” Candice says.

“As we celebrate the first 40 years of IVF, we need to enter the next 40 focusing on better educating young adults on fertility health, fertility preservation, diversity of families, and that’s just the starting point.”

From an emerging science in 1980 to cutting edge assisted reproductive technologies, Australian doctors have remained at the forefront of IVF.

Newly appointed CEO of ACCESS Australia, Ms Maree Pickens, says ACCESS has been supporting those seeking to become parents for nearly three decades, campaigning for equity of access to affordable treatments from Government and the medical community to make latest advances available to all.

“As we mark 40 years of IVF today it’s important that we continue to advocate for all Australians embarking on their IVF journey.

“There is a diversity of experience among those facing fertility concerns and we need to maintain a national voice to Government on behalf of everyone requiring fertility assistance,” Maree says.

“It is with this continued purpose and primary goal that we follow Candice’s call to ‘Keep the Hope’ alive for the thousands of families who will be seeking IVF assistance in the decades to come.”

In celebrating the 40 year IVF anniversary and to ensure support and education for the parents of the future, ACCESS is today launching the Keep the Hope fund, with one in every four dollars donated, to be gifted to fertility health education and awareness charity, Fertility Matters, co-founded by Candice and fellow first generation IVFling, Rebecca Featherstone Jelen.

Reflecting on the cross-generational impact of IVF, Rebecca has welcomed ACCESS’ Keep the Hope fund launch. “As I now look at my own children, I think if IVF had not created me, they would not be here. It’s a humbling

thought and I thank all the specialists, scientists, nurses and counsellors involved in the amazing world of IVF.

Microsoft Word – Keep the hope – Celebrating 40 years of IVF in Australia_Media Release_Embargoed, Tuesday 23 June, 2020.docx

“To think how so many families who would otherwise be childless are not, is not only due to the amazing developments of IVF but also to those who have campaigned tirelessly, like ACCESS Australia, so people can access the treatment that they deserve at the time in their lives that they deserve it,” says Rebecca.

Citing hope for all facing fertility obstacles, Candice says hope is held in each of the 200,000 IVFlings across the country who remind us that anything is possible.

“It’s really important that organisations such as ACCESS Australia and Fertility Matters continue to do the work that they do.

Keep the Hope fund will help us to continue to advocate for better awareness on all things fertility and champion the stories of everyone facing fertility issues,” Candice says.

“As 200,000 Australians make their mark on the world, it’s a far cry from when I was the only IVFling in my region, in my state, let alone in my school and classroom.

“Who knows what we can all achieve in the next 40 years.”
To donate to ACCESS Australia’s Keep the Hope fund, visit

Donations will help develop education modules, provide support forums, inform policy, work with health professionals and researchers and reach out to the broader community.

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