Royal Womens Hospital Fertility Research Centre
NSW Health- South East Sydney Local Health District
Completed in stages spanning 2017-2019, the Fertility & Research Centre (FRC) was Australia’s first holistic centre to combine basic and clinical research with comprehensive in-vitro fertilization (IFV) and assisted reproduction treatment (ART) and services for all patients, regardless of socio-economic status. A key focus of the FRC is to offer prompt service to oncology patients whose fertility may be compromised as a result of their treatment in the adjacent oncology services facility.
One objective of this project was to provide physical facilities suitable for the consulting rooms and ultrasound operations of the Fertility Research Centre. The second phase of the project provided an embryology lab and embryo transfer clinic. The highly specialised ART lab required careful design and material selections to ensure that all services and materials provided the optimum environment for the growing embryos. In particular, high volatile organic compounds (VOC) levels are embryotoxic, so all materials were selected to ensure extremely low levels of VOC.
At the very heart of this technically challenging project was another very different, but compelling requirement. Patients of the FRC are often dealing with intensely stressful situations. It was important to provide a comforting, welcoming, and calm place where patients first arrive. In the reception and waiting area for patients, we aimed to create a subdued, domestic and supportive environment rather than presenting a “clinical” face. The waiting area is divided into smaller zones to enhance privacy. To soften the space and create a feeling of intimacy, we used timber features for warmth, soft domestic-scale lighting, and tactile textile finishes.