News & Media

Gave couples hope and babies life

Printed in Daily Mercury, Mackay, 12th February 2011

DOCTOR John Hennessey spent his life giving couples hope, and babies life.

The pioneer of in vitro fertilisation (IVF), who died after a long battle with illness in Brisbane in January, selected Mackay as the first regional satellite centre for Queensland Fertility Group’s IVF service in the late 1980s.

The move changed – and helped create – many lives by giving treatment to Mackay couples who were having difficulties conceiving a child, without them having to travel to a capital city.

Mackay senior fertility specialist Lance Herron, who is continuing Dr Hennessey’s work, paid tribute to him this week.

“Few people know just what Dr Hennessey achieved for families in Mackay back then because he was a very humble man,” Dr Herron said.

“Recognising the difficulty of access to fertility treatment in regional towns, Dr Hennessey made Mackay the destination for a satellite IVF clinic – the first of its type in the world.

“Twice a year he came here with his whole laboratory, effectively mobilising the entire operation, giving hopeful Mackay couples an opportunity they might never otherwise have had.”

Dr Herron said Mackay had built upon Dr Hennessy’s head start, establishing a permanent Queensland Fertility Group clinic in 2001.

“It’s a privilege to carry on such pioneering work that delivers hope to couples who might otherwise have none.

“Success rates have increased over the years with the development of new scientific technologies and a deeper understanding of the medical issues involved.”
Dr Herron, who is the medical director of the Queensland Fertility Group and Mackay’s senior obstetrician, said he recently renewed accreditation for the local branch.

“Through the process of accreditation, which we take seriously, we are able to assure clients of the highest standard in service delivery, scientific integrity and personal attention.

“It’s a tradition that was started here by Dr Hennessey and one I am privileged to continue,” said Dr Herron.