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Genea’s new East Melbourne fertility clinic puts intimacy and warmth back into making a family

Genea’s new East Melbourne fertility clinic puts intimacy and warmth back into making a family


East Melbourne is a small, leafy suburb, located on the edge of the CBD. A stone’s throw from the famed MCG, Fitzroy Gardens and some of the best hospitality and dining experiences in the world, this quiet inner-city enclave is also home to cutting-edge hospitals and medical facilities. It’s no surprise then that world-leading fertility provider Genea chose Victoria Parade in East Melbourne as the home for their new fertility clinic. 

As many reading this will know from first-hand or family experience, the fertility journey is a wild roller coaster. Something that is supposed to be so natural instead becomes cold, clinical, and bereft of humanity. 

Putting humanity back into creating a family

To an extent, the medicalisation of creating a family is impossible to avoid within the context of a fertility clinic. However, for Genea, it was vitally important their new space not only provided their patients with leading IVF technology and treatment, but also supported them emotionally and physically through the design of the clinic itself. 

“The assisted fertility journey can be emotionally challenging,” Genea Melbourne medical director Alex Polyakov says. “Patients can experience a range of emotions, including hope, anxiety, and sadness. 

“Genea distinguishes itself through its scientific advancements and leading IVF success rates, coupled with exceptional personalised care for individuals and couples undergoing fertility treatment.” 

Polyakov says the new East Melbourne clinic offers a calm, secure and caring environment where patients can feel at ease.

Genea Melbourne director and fertility specialist Dr Chandrika Parmar attests the design of the facility plays an important role for families.  

“We hear from patients who say the environment in which they receive treatment has had an impact on how they navigate their fertility journey,” Parmar says.

Creating a space that feels like a warm hug

Designing a medical facility that strikes a balance between being functional, efficient and clean, as well as being welcoming and calming – more akin to a luxury wellness clinic than an IVF treatment facility – is no easy feat.

For this reason, Genea engaged Unispace, global leaders in workplace strategy, design, project management and construction. “Before we began, we stepped into the patient’s shoes as best we could to fully understand the intricacies of what people coming to fertility appointments might go through,” says Unispace Australia’s head of design Ian Worthy. 

“We believe design has a huge role to play in easing these emotions by creating a welcoming, personalised space that allows patients and their support person to feel comfortable. Essentially, we wanted to make the space feel like a warm hug.”

Separation, intimacy, and human-centric design 

Upon entering the ground floor site patients are greeted with curves, soft lighting, lush plants and warm textures — a striking deviation from the norm seen in typical hospital or medical environments. 

The entry encompasses two waiting areas to maintain a boutique feeling and a degree of privacy – one for patients consulting with a specialist and another for those accessing Genea’s services such as blood tests and scans. Chairs within these spaces are grouped in small clusters and angled inward to allow people to sit with a support person, while achieving a sense of separation. 

It is this sense of respectful separation combined with intimacy, where a hug can be given and received literally and metaphorically, that differentiates Genea’s East Melbourne clinic from the many other fertility clinics in the neighbourhood. 

Further enhancing this sense of privacy, treatment and consulting rooms are strategically nestled in low foot-fall walkways and within separate zones to reduce patient crossover, which can often heighten the complex emotional experience that patients are already going through. 

In centring the patient experience, listening to them and embedding their needs into the entire process, including into the design of the clinic itself, Genea has successfully elevated the patient experience. 

Together with Worthy and his team at Unispace, the new clinic provides a calming environment designed to aid in what is often a stressful time for patients, and marks a welcome design-first for fertility clinics in Australia.

Photography by Tatjana Plitt 

Check out another outstanding medical facility, designed by Gray Puksand


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