Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Organisational UnitDepartment of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
OfferedClayton Second semester 2014 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Sally Catt


The new reproductive technologies are now widely used for the treatment of human infertility and for prenatal diagnosis of familial genetic disorders. These techniques involve in vitro fertilization (IVF) and therefore require a sound knowledge of reproductive endocrinology, cell biology and specific techniques involved in the handling and maturation of human sperm and ova. Micromanipulation is an important new method required for fertilization (intracytoplasmic sperm injection - ICSI) and chromosome or genetic diagnosis (embryo biopsy for fluorescent in situ hybridisation - FISH, or polymerase chain reaction - PCR amplification of genomic DNA). This unit also involves the new and rapidly changing areas of cell and tissue cryobiology and transplantation. Specific tests are now also evolving for assessment of embryo viability, particularly now that embryos can be grown successfully to late preimplantation stages of development. These new techniques are presented in the context of laboratory quality assurance and the ethical and legal frameworks of local legislation and regulation.


On completion of this unit students will:

  1. understand the clinical and laboratory techniques required for successful IVF, the reasons for the methods used, and why quality assurance is a premium for clinical IVF services;
  2. comprehend the limitations of the procedures applied in human infertility and genetic diagnosis;
  3. understand and have experienced micromanipulation, the handling of embryos (animal) and their cryopreservation, and have used the FISH technique to identify chromosomes in single cells;
  4. have learned about ethics and the laws governing IVF, and assessed new articles on IVF;
  5. have worked together to solve a problem and presented their solution as a poster; 6. be familiar with evaluating and communicating a critical review of contemporary scientific research papers.


Examination (2.25h) (50%)
Laboratory practical questions derived from sessions (20%)
Poster preparation and presentation (25%)
Peerwise (5%)

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

This unit is held over 6 weeks in second semester. Students are required to attend all lectures, interactive sessions, practical sessions and a site visit to Monash IVF.

Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: