History of donor conception

Australia's first IVF baby, Candice Reed, was born at Melbourne’s Royal Women’s Hospital in 1980. Candice was only the third IVF baby born in the world, with the first being Louise Brown at Manchester’s Oldham Hospital in 1978. IVF, or in-vitro fertilisation, is a type of assisted reproductive treatment (ART).

The birth of Candice Reed was the culmination of a decade’s work by a Melbourne team drawn together by the late Professor Carl Wood, who was then Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Monash University and the Queen Victoria Medical Centre.

The research team responsible for pioneering work in the IVF field was based at the Royal Women’s Hospital, Queen Victoria Medical Centre and Monash University.

Although Candice Reed was the third IVF baby in the world, Melbourne researchers had been responsible for two early IVF pregnancies in 1973 that had been lost after less than one week.

The Royal Women’s Hospital - Personal stories

What were the early days of donor conception like in Victoria? Here is a snapshot of the experience of a counsellor and parent from the Royal Women's Hospital.

A health professional remembers - Jenny Blood was a social worker at the Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne, Australia during the 1980s and 90s where she counselled people involved with donor conception treatment at the hospital.

Elizabeth, a parent of three donor-conceived adults born as a result of donor treatment in the late 1970s and early 1980s at the Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne, recounts her experience of early donor treatment and having donor-conceived children.

Historical documents

A selection of documents and records from the early days of donor conception in Victoria.


Sperm Donor Ad Queen Victoria Hospital
Maritime Sperm Donor Ad Queen Victoria Hospital
Archival brochure, patient card (page 1)
Archival brochure, patient card (page 2)
Archival brochure, patient card (page 3)
Archival brochure, patient card (page 4)
Letter, Ian Smith Audrins June 2008
Non identifying information, Prince Henry's (page 1)
Non identifying information, Prince Henry's (page 2)
Non identifying information, Prince Henry's (page 3)
Non identifying information, Prince Henry's (page 4)
Non identifying information, Prince Henry's (page 5)
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