woman and baby

Virtus Health and Mackenzie's Mission

Learn about the landmark Reproductive Genetic Carrier Screening Project and how we are pledging support.

Our Partnership with Mackenzie’s Mission

Virtus Health, which includes IVFAustralia, Melbourne IVF, TasIVF and Queensland Fertility Group, is pledging financial support for Mackenzie’s Mission, the Australian Reproductive Genetic Carrier Screening Project.

About Mackenzie’s Mission

Mackenzie’s Mission is a research study that offers reproductive genetic carrier screening to 10,000 Australian couples who are either planning to have children or are in early pregnancy. The study, administered by Australian Genomics, will give couples information about their likelihood of having a child with a severely debilitating and/or life-limiting genetic condition occurring in childhood.

The research project will test for approximately 750 recessive and X-linked conditions. Recessive and X-linked conditions are those that can be passed on to children from parents who are ‘carriers’ of the condition but who don’t know they have it themselves.

Mackenzie’s Mission is named after Rachael and Jonathan Casella’s baby daughter Mackenzie, who tragically died at just 7 months of age to spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

Rachael and Jonathan didn’t know they were carriers of SMA, neither displayed symptoms because they did not have the condition themselves. After tragically losing Mackenzie they knew they didn’t want other families to go through the same pain, so they started to raise awareness and lobby government to make reproductive genetic carrier screening more broadly available. This is how Mackenzie’s Mission started.

About Virtus Health’s Support

Virtus Health is supporting this landmark research project by covering part of the cost of an IVF cycle for couples who are found to be carriers of a severe genetic condition.

Going through an IVF cycle can help those couples who are found to be carriers by offering the option of Preimplantation Genetic Testing, or PGT, a sophisticated scientific technique which can be used to test embryos for either a specific known single gene condition or chromosome variation. This enables only chromosomally healthy embryos or those unaffected by a specific disorder to be selected for transfer during an IVF cycle, maximising the chance of a healthy baby.

Our partnership with Mackenzie’s Mission is Australia-wide. If you would like to find out more about Mackenzie’s Mission, or are interested in participating in the study, have a discussion with your fertility specialist or your family doctor.

Learn more about Mackenzie’s Mission

Learn more about our genetic testing options