Dr Hugo Fernandes is a consultant gynaecologist and fertility specialist known for his caring and easy-going clinical manner. He completed his O&G training at Monash Health before undertaking a 2-year Advanced Laparoscopic Surgical Fellowship at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne. He also holds a Masters in Reproductive Medicine. Hugo has public appointments on the Advanced Endosurgical Units at Monash Health and The Royal Women’s Hospital. He offers specialist care from Epworth Richmond, Coburg and Clayton. He regularly attends sessions in Warragul and Mildura and is passionate about providing women living in regional and rural Victoria with access to advanced gynaecological surgery and quality fertility care.
He is an active member of AGES, the peak gynaecological and surgical body in Australasia. He is regularly invited to speak at AGES scientific meetings and is also involved in training new fellows. He is very proud to have been one of the first of three doctors in Australia to be accredited as an ‘AGES Advanced Surgical Fellow’, making him one of only a handful of gynaecologists in Australasia certified to operate at the very highest level of surgical difficulty.
Hugo is particularly proficient in and enjoys using minimally invasive (keyhole) techniques to help manage conditions such as fibroids, endometriosis and pelvic masses. These can affect a woman’s ability to conceive and Hugo is often referred patients by other O&G specialists for surgery: “I enjoy the complexity and challenge of keyhole surgery, and am still in awe at how quickly patients recover.”
Hugo is known for his relaxed, patient-focused consultations and thoroughly enjoys interacting with and helping couples to become parents: “My partner and I had our own unique struggles in becoming parents, but we now have four girls whom we adore. I get the challenges, the frustration and the tears of trying for a family. Being able to help others achieve their own family is what gets me up in the morning … Well that and four girls wanting breakfast!”
Known for his penchant for 80s love songs and pop while operating (“There is no surgery that isn’t made better with a good 80s mix!”), Hugo also confesses to being a ‘plane nut’ with a love for all things aviation. When he’s not travelling around the world in winged machines, he can be found enjoying a good shiraz, a good coffee or a good dessert (preferably all three!).
Dr Nicole Hope is a highly experienced and compassionate fertility specialist, who has been assisting couples to conceive for over 15 years. Nicole completed her specialist training in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Monash Medical Centre. An accredited fertility sub-specialist since 2010, she also holds an advanced Certificate in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (CREI) – less than 100 fertility specialists across Australia and New Zealand have achieved this certification.
Nicole maintains deep expertise across all aspects of fertility care, and has previously been a Clinical Director and a member of the Medical Advisory Committee at Monash IVF. She currently offers specialist care from private consulting rooms in Box Hill, Clayton and Bundoora.
Nicole is passionate about helping people to have their own family: “I understand how challenging it can be when women and couples struggle to conceive – and I strongly believe in the importance of providing the right information and support at every step along the way to pregnancy and parenthood.”
Nicole spends a good chunk of her spare time chauffeuring her two gorgeous children to and from their various extracurricular activities. When she’s not standing on the sidelines of sports fields, she likes settling down to some quality couch time with a good book or movie, preferably while enjoying a snuggle with her pet groodle.
Dr Sameer Jatkar is a highly accomplished and well-liked fertility specialist. An avid learner, Sameer’s postgraduate qualifications include Masters degrees in Science, Public Health, Reproductive Medicine and Clinical Embryology. In addition, Sameer has completed three years of a subspecialty clinical fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility.
He currently holds public appointments at Monash Health and the Mercy Hospital for Women in Heidelberg, and consults privately at Clayton, East Melbourne and Box Hill. His special interests include polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), male factor infertility, ovulation induction, preimplantation genetic testing and minimally invasive surgery.
Sameer believes strongly in bridging the science of fertility with the person: “I take the time to truly understand someone’s circumstances from all angles before moving forward with a plan. By using an evidence-based approach, I can then apply the best of science to their particular situation, ensuring the best outcome possible.”
Calm, composed and a master of all trades, Sameer could probably pass as a British spy in true MI6 tradition. However, given his wanderlust, we probably shouldn’t say that too loudly or he might get stopped the next time he tries to leave the country.
A/Prof Martin Healey is a caring and dedicated fertility specialist who has been in practice for over 20 years. He completed his specialty training in both Australia and the UK before completing an advanced laparoscopy fellowship at The Mercy Hospital for Women. In addition to his private practice, he is also a consultant gynaecologist at The Royal Women’s Hospital and an Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Melbourne.
Having completed his doctorate on endometriosis pain, Martin maintains a special interest in fertility issues related to this condition. He enjoys talking to patients, describing this as one of the most rewarding aspects of his career: “Everyone is different, so I get these incredible glimpses into people’s lives and the rich variety of experiences they go through. I find it very fulfilling to take people through the full journey of care – whether it be trying for pregnancy or helping with gynaecological problems – and making it as clear and un-scary as possible for them.”
Outside the clinic, Martin is a father of four children, a keen sports enthusiast and supporter of the Melbourne Demons. He also enjoys reading science fiction and fantasy novels, completing amateur woodwork projects, and playing with numbers and statistics (perhaps we should call him Good Will Hunting?).
Dr. Chris Russell is a ‘unicorn’ among fertility specialists. As a gynaecologist, fertility specialist and practising obstetrician, he is uniquely placed to care for women at every life stage. From the management of complex gynaecological conditions such as endometriosis and PCOS through to recurrent miscarriage, fertility care and IVF, as well as antenatal care and obstetrics, Chris can offer outstanding continuity of care across a woman’s lifetime.
He currently holds public appointments in Reproductive Medicine and high-risk obstetrics at the Mercy Hospital for Women, while consulting privately at East Melbourne, Heidelberg and Box Hill. He is also a lecturer with the University of Melbourne. Chris is particularly chuffed to be affiliated with the Melbourne Football Club’s Women’s AFL team and maintains a special interest in caring for female athletes, both professional and amateur, across a range of sports, including football, netball and basketball.
Chris prides himself on his approachable and inclusive bedside manner: “My aim is to make fertility simple and understandable for every patient. I really see fertility treatment as an alliance or democracy, where I decide very little, but arm my patients with the knowledge they need to inform their own path.”
Outside of work, Chris is an avid follower of the NBA and swears he was a fan of the Golden State Warriors before they won back-to-back tournaments. It’s not surprising then that the highlight of his weekend is coaching his daughter’s U13 basketball team, or that his claim to fame is being the exact same height as six-time NBA All-Star “Steph” Curry – although that’s clearly where the similarities end.
Dr Amber Kennedy is an obstetrician, gynaecologist and fertility specialist, well known for her attentive approach to patient care, as women journey with her from pre-conception to birth. Amber completed her specialist training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at The Mercy Hospital for Women (MHW) in Heidelberg, Melbourne, and holds a Masters in Reproductive Medicine from the University of New South Wales. She undertook a fellowship in Reproductive Biology at the MHW and was the Honorary Reproductive Services fellow at the Royal Women’s Hospital (RWH) for two years, before taking up her current public appointments at the MHW in obstetrics and gynaecology, and at the RHW, as part of The Women’s endocrine and metabolic service.
Amber’s key areas of interest as a fertility specialist include subfertility, reproductive endocrinology (including PCOS), and endometrial hyperplasia. Her dedication to clinical excellence is supported by her commitment to scientific research. She is currently undertaking a PhD exploring the long-term outcomes of IVF, an area which she is incredibly passionate about: “IVF technology has revolutionised the treatment of subfertility over the past 3 decades and now constitutes 5% of Australian births, so it is vital that we understand the implications of IVF and other assisted reproductive techniques, to better inform future patient care and treatment practices.”
Amber is regarded by her patients for her calm and friendly approach, and her ability to explain complex information in a way that everyone can understand. Amber believes her initial interest in reproductive medicine stemmed from witnessing the births of her two younger siblings, and that this is probably why she now enjoys being part of a family’s fertility and pregnancy journey so much.
Known for her love of colourful shoes and bright earrings, Amber brings a warmth and vibrancy to the clinic that we’re all grateful for, particularly on a rainy day. When she’s not caring for her two young boys, Amber can be found unwinding on the sofa watching Netflix (after much discussion about which show to watch!) and indulging in her husband’s delicious vegetarian cooking. Her expertise in reproductive medicine even comes in handy when she’s on mummy duty – after the birth of her second child, her toddler enquired: “How do you get a baby in your tummy?!”, to which she responded: “There are more ways than one, sweetheart…”
Dr Tiki Osianlis is our fearless leader. With a long and formidable pedigree in embryology and IVF, her reputation often precedes her. She has served some of Melbourne’s most well-known IVF providers for the last 18 years, most recently as the Group Scientific Director for Monash IVF. She is regularly invited to speak and consult internationally, particularly throughout Australasia.
Tiki’s career in embryology and IVF began after completing her PhD at Monash University. As an adjunct Senior Lecturer with the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at Monash Health, she particularly enjoys supervising the research of Honours and PhD students, and maintains a special interest in projects exploring sperm and egg interaction, as well as optimal embryo selection.
As Scientific Director for Newlife IVF, Tiki oversees our state-of-the-art laboratory, driving our commitment to and implementation of best scientific practice: “Robust scientific strategies can help couples achieve a healthy family sooner rather than later. As science and technology evolves, so too should the way we care for eggs, sperm and embryo in the laboratory setting – advances in science can lead to significant advances in care but only if we truly invest in applying that research to day-to-day practice.”
Tiki humbly describes herself as ‘very boring’ and ‘hobby free’ but we know better. Her guiding mantra is ‘per angusta ad augusta’ (through trial to triumph) and this is apparent in everything she does, from taking part in fundraising challenges like Melbourne Coastrek to generously sharing her know-how with others in order to help them achieve their hopes and dreams.
Maria Diamente is a highly accomplished IVF manager and clinical embryologist with over 20 years’ experience in the field of ART. She has held many roles during her long career in IVF including IVF Laboratories Manager, Operations Manager, Satellite Manager, National Health and Safety Officer, and National Risk Manager. She has worked with local providers such as Monash IVF and Number 1 Fertility. She has also been a trainer and consultant for a range of other IVF clinics, both nationally and internationally.
Maria specialises in commissioning and establishing laboratories, with a focus on efficient and effective laboratory design and construction. She has extensive experience in training staff and managing clinic accreditation. As a trained auditor, Maria also has a wealth of expertise in implementing and overseeing quality management systems in the IVF clinic, successfully integrating her broad expertise into clinics both large and small.
With a Bachelor of Science with Honours from LaTrobe University, Maria is passionate about giving every patient the best possible chance of achieving their dream of having a baby: “The most rewarding aspect of my job is working as a team with people who genuinely care and who have come together to help others and make a small difference in someone’s life.”
Outside of work, Maria loves all things food-related – from creating to consuming – as well as travelling and enjoying time with loved ones. A firm believer in giving back, she also volunteers in house-building programs across Cambodia, helping to improve family life and enabling children to have access to clean water and education.
Family is very important to Nursing Services Manager, Charlotte. This may be why, after working in two other rewarding fields (oncology and palliative care), she has found her home in fertility care. When asked about her favourite part of the job, Charlotte immediately replied, “getting to help my amazing, resilient patients achieve their dream [of having a family]!”. Her coworkers are also a highlight: “I love working with such a dedicated, experienced team.”
In her free time, Charlotte loves being with her beautiful boys and watching them play with Bobby, their puppy. She also enjoys catching up with friends and family, whether that’s here in Melbourne, or on her visits to Ireland and New Zealand (travel is one of Charlotte’s passions). As for culinary adventures, Charlotte loves to experiment with fresh, Mexican flavours and serve her creations to friends and family.
Bernadette Hyland is our Donor Co-ordinator and Head of Cryostorage (freezing). She has been providing andrology, embryology and donor services to some of Melbourne’s most well-known IVF providers for nearly 20 years.
Having originally studied biomedical science, Bernadette maintains a keen interest in human biology and how newer technologies (like cryopreservation) can give our biology a helping hand. Organised, methodical and nerdy (her words, not ours!), Bernadette is well-suited to her role in co-ordinating the logistics and technical aspects of our donor and freezing services.
She says: “Like many women, I always saw myself as being a mother one day and all that comes with it. As a mum of two identical twin boys, I fully understand the desire and yearning to be a ‘mum’. But as a woman and scientist, I also appreciate the options and choices that donor and egg freezing services provide for women who want to delay, or have had to delay, motherhood.”
Outside of work, Bernadette enjoys holidaying with her family in Port Fairy, going to the beach and remembering to go to Pilates.
Sarah Nowoweiski is Newlife IVF’s Counselling Services Manager. A clinical and health psychologist, Sarah has worked in the fertility setting for 18 years. She was formerly the Counselling Manager at Number 1 Fertility and has previously worked as a Senior Counsellor at Melbourne IVF, Monash IVF and The Austin Parent Infant Research Institute.
Sarah received her Doctor of Psychology from Deakin University, completing research in the areas of women’s reproductive issues, fertility and birth-related experiences. She is also a member of the Australian and New Zealand Infertility Counsellors Association (ANZICA) and has helped to establish surrogacy and donor programs at several ART clinics.
Sarah is passionate about supporting the well-being of individuals and couples receiving fertility treatment: “Going through IVF and other treatments takes an emotional toll on every couple. Counselling plays a critical role in helping couples to process and manage what they are going through – both as individuals and as a couple.”
When she’s not at work, Sarah loves spending time with her husband and daughter. She also enjoys karate, travelling, reading and socialising.
Sally Ascui is Newlife IVF’s Senior Fertility Nurse. She has worked in fertility for the last decade with roles at some of Melbourne’s most well-known IVF clinics, including Monash IVF and Number 1 Fertility.
With a Graduate Certificate of Nursing and Post-graduate Diploma in Midwifery, Sally has extensive experience in Women’s Health. She has also previously worked as a midwife, coordinating antenatal care and patient education.
Sally provides our patients with the highest level of education and care as she guides and supports them throughout their IVF journey: “Compassion and kindness can make a huge difference to individuals and couples undergoing fertility treatment. These are incredibly sensitive issues for people to have to deal with while still holding down jobs and managing other life commitments. As a nurse, my aim is to be a trusted advisor – I love connecting with my patients, helping them to make sense of any complexity, and in doing so, making their journey as easy as possible.”
Outside of work, Sally enjoys keeping fit, so is frequently seen getting about in her activewear (gasp!). However, we’re told that once the leggings come off, Sally turns into quite the fashionista. Her guilty pleasure is watching reality TV (you know, MAFS and all that jazz …) but hey, let’s not get too judgy-judgy!
With a staggering 25+ years of experience, Senior Embryologist, Jessica Galea, has worked for a range of IVF providers, including Melbourne IVF, Monash IVF, Sydney IVF and Fertility First. After all these years, she still can’t see herself doing anything else: “I get to do what I love every day with a group of people who are driven by the same passion as I am – helping couples achieve their dream. That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning.”
There’s nothing Jessica loves more than to spend time with her own family. Whether it’s serving a delicious, home-cooked Italian meal to husband, Jason, and their 10-year-old twin girls, or taking the twins to musical theatre and dance classes, she loves hanging out with the three most important people in her life.
Jessica and her family particularly enjoy exploring the world together. Hawaii rates a mention for its stunning sand and surf, while Singapore takes first prize for its food and huge range of kid-friendly activities. A trip to Vegas to renew her wedding vows was also a highlight!
A New Zealand native, Amanda Collins first began her career in reproductive medicine in 2005, becoming an embryologist three years later. Since joining the Newlife team, Amanda has made quite the impression with patients. This is no doubt due to her stories about eggs of another kind – those of her chickens! If you come along to see Amanda, be prepared to hear about her three Silkies (Snowflake, Custard and Pungu) and two Big Browns (Favourite and Honey). You might say that she’s very eggs-perienced (sorry, we just had to).
Away from work, you’ll find Amanda journeying through Melbourne’s East in search of great coffee. You can also find her at Moggs Creek (along the Great Ocean Road) taking a long walk on the beach or supporting her beloved All Blacks from afar.
More recently, she has taken on the task of introducing fellow team member and embryologist, Leah Lazzaro, to the best classic movies of all time after finding out that she hasn’t seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Breakfast Club, Fame, Footloose or Star Wars! Looks like it’s time to pull out the popcorn.
With a remarkable 20+ years’ experience as an embryologist, Sandra has worked at IVF clinics in Melbourne and overseas. This includes an 18-year stint at Monash IVF, and two years at a large IVF clinic in the UK. When asked what gets her out of bed each day, she said: “Being a small part of someone’s journey to parenthood and getting to work with such a fun and dedicated team. That, and checking out how our tiny residents (embryos) have been developing overnight.”
When she’s not at work, Sandra loves pottering around the house and garden. Whether it’s cooking up a fragrant paella, sewing or crocheting up a storm, or taking care of her many animals (four chickens, two guinea pigs, one rabbit and a spiny leaf insect!), she likes to keep busy. When it’s time to kick back, she enjoys watching comedies, like Brooklyn 99, and her all-time favourite, Seinfeld.
Embryologist, Maria, has always had an interest in fertility. After completing her Masters, she did a further year of research on oocyte (egg) maturation, followed by almost four years at Monash IVF as a Clinical Embryologist. Her passion for her field, and her love of travel, took Maria to central London to work at the largest IVF company in the world. After 18 months overseas and plenty of weekends spent discovering Europe, Maria returned home to Melbourne and joined the team at Newlife IVF.
Although Maria’s favourite part of her working day is delivering good news to patients, she also loves her coworkers. “It is not always easy to create a culture at work that is passionate, collaborative, genuine and caring, with a culture of learning, but that is what we’re blessed to have here at Newlife. We inspire one another to be the best every day, because we all truly believe in the work we do.”
When Maria isn’t working, she loves to get out and about: catching up with friends, visiting museums and galleries, and indulging in a bit of retail therapy. Otherwise, you can find her at the beach, whether that’s here in Melbourne, or on a sun lounger by the sea in Greece.
Winter believes children are our future, and it is this conviction that led her to a career in Clinical Embryology. “I could not imagine a more amazing job than helping potential parents fulfil their goal of having kids. It is the most rewarding experience when one of our patients finally falls pregnant, and an honour to be a part of this important moment in their life.” Winter’s colleagues at Newlife IVF also contribute to her love of the job: “We all share the same goals and passions, and it creates a culture and atmosphere that makes me excited to come to work.”
In her downtime, Winter can be found relaxing in front of the TV with her husband and a glass of wine. We’re not sure how relaxing her husband finds this, though, as Winter’s favourite ‘hobby’ is ‘watching horror movies and seeing him freak out’. Travel is another of Winter’s preferred pastimes. She frequently visits family in Korea and fondly recalls catching up with her sister and cousins over a midnight snack.
Don’t let Registered Nurse, Lauren Frail’s last name fool you! With a background in Emergency Department nursing, Lauren is the strong and hardy type, and incredibly adept at providing care and compassion to our fertility patients.
Known for making a mean carrot cake, she spends her spare time whipping up delicious creations for her family, friends and cake-loving colleagues. Lauren balances her love of baking with keeping fit, cycling to and from work every day, and swimming and running whenever she gets the chance.
A footy fan, Lauren follows the Richmond Tigers and enjoys watching the footy while hanging out with her ‘house tiger’ Gibson (otherwise known as her pet cat!). She loves getting away with family at the Murray River, and having a laugh with fellow fertility nurse and fitness fanatic, Sharyn Lanham (‘planking’ competition, anyone?).
With an incredible 25 years of experience in fertility nursing and follicle scanning, Registered Nurse, Sharyn Lanham, has seen it all. She’s also previously worked as a clinical nurse educator, nurse manager, paediatric emergency nurse and midwife, including stints at some of Melbourne’s biggest hospitals (The Royal Children’s Hospital, The Royal Women’s Hospital).
When asked why she loves working at Newlife IVF, Sharyn responded: “It’s a privilege to work with like-minded, passionate individuals who go above and beyond to make the patient experience a positive one, during what can be a very challenging time for women and couples. I really enjoy getting to know my patients – we have a good chat during their follicle scans. My favourite part of the day is when I get to tell patients that they’re pregnant.”
On weekends, Sharyn likes to relax with her Spoodles (Barney and Yogi), pretend it’s still the 80s by watching The Wedding Singer or indulge in repeats of cult Australian TV show Offspring (‘I wanted to be Nina’).
Sharyn has also obtained her Fitness Instructor Certificate 3 & 4 and loves completing the gruelling Coaching Zone fitness program at her local gym. This love of torturous exercise probably explains why she’s noticed that fellow colleague and fertility nurse, Lauren Frail, can ‘plank’ with the best of them.
Sound has always been central to Roxanne’s career. While studying music at university, she learned to channel sound into original compositions. Now, as a sonographer, she uses it in a different way: to help patients see their own ‘original compositions’ – their babies – via ultrasound.
Having worked in both general and gynaecological/obstetric ultrasound in a variety of private clinic and hospital settings, Roxanne has found her niche in fertility. “It’s a unique and beautiful field of practice within the healthcare industry. Most of medicine is concerned with disease, but we get to use medical intervention to help patients achieve a dream: to have a family. I love knowing that I am making a difference in our patients’ lives.”
In her spare time, Roxanne enjoys creative pursuits: composing music, playing the flute, singing and writing fantasy fiction, accompanied by many cups of tea. When she’s not flexing her creative muscles, she likes to unwind with a bit of online ‘window shopping’ or by watching suspenseful TV series like You and Into the Night. On holiday, you can find her at Palm Cove in Queensland, ‘a beautiful place to just relax and morph into a languid vegetable.’
Phlebotomist Stacey Lee feels privileged to be part of a couple’s IVF journey. She has always had a special interest in fertility treatment, having previously worked at Monash Ultrasound as a phlebotomist for prenatal screening tests. At Newlife IVF, Stacey Lee is able to continue her work in an area she is passionate about alongside an ‘outstanding group of colleagues’.
Stacey Lee’s other passion is her three, beautiful girls, Bailey, Lexi and Lucy. She spends most of her spare time playing with them, painting, and looking after their menagerie of pets: David the cat, guinea pigs Walter, Lewis and Edward, and chickens Princess and Foxy.
At the weekend, Stacey Lee loves kicking back in front of the TV with a drink in hand. Currently streaming is dystopian drama-comedy, Black Mirror. However, her all-time favourite show is the 90s classic, Friends. During footy season Stacey Lee is an avid Collingwood supporter, and cheers for rugby league team the NZ Warriors. She enjoys visiting family in Auckland (home of the Warriors!), seeing the rolling hills and beautiful coast of South Gippsland, and spending time in Temora, known as the friendliest town in New South Wales.
Amanda Giandinoto is our Patient Finance Manager. She has worked in IVF for over a decade co-ordinating and managing HR and finance services.
Amanda graduated from LaTrobe University with a Bachelor of Business and has worked in the medical industry ever since. “I’m really passionate about using my skills in business and finance to help patients access the best possible medical treatments.
“I feel very privileged to be part of the Newlife IVF team and being able to help patients in a very practical way, as they pursue their dream of having a family. It’s my job to keep patients well-informed about treatment costs and what to expect. I’m very open and transparent with our patients because financing the treatment journey shouldn’t be a source of fear or confusion.”
When not helping people to manage their finances, Amanda enjoys reading, travelling, and catching up with friends and family.