Virtus banks on ageing mums for growth

Fertility services provider Virtus Health says IVF volumes fell in 2016/17. (AAP)

Virtus Health's annual profit fell 15 per cent as it delivered fewer IVF cycles in the eastern states, but its CEO is confident demand will rebound.

Fertility services group Virtus Health is confident ageing first-time mothers and more single women and same sex couples wanting to have children will support its long term growth, as it deals with a recent drop in demand.

The company's annual profit slumped 15 per cent to $28.1 million in the 2016/17 financial year, as it delivered 354 less IVF cycles than it did the previous year.

Virtus shares dropped 18 cents, or 3.2 per cent, to $5.48.

Chief executive Sue Channon said overall volume growth over the next five years was expected to be between two and three per cent.

First-time mothers are getting older, and the average of Virtus patients was 37, she said.

"We have seen fairly significant growth in single women and same sex couples accessing our donor services," Ms Channon added.

"Annual growth rate variability is not unusual and historically we see that following periods of lower activity we see improvement, and that's due to the pent up demand."

She said the fall in volumes in 2016/17 followed a strong previous year, when women began to take advantage of low cost clinics offering cycles for out-of-pocket costs of between $900 and $1,500, compared with premium service facilities that charge around $5,000.

Around 15 per cent of Virtus cycles are delivered through its low cost model, which involves eggs being collected in a procedure room rather than a day hospital, and without more complex services, such as cycles using donor eggs or treatment for women with endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Ms Channon said genetic screening was a key area of growth for Virtus, with revenue from pre-implantation genetic diagnosis and screening increasing by more than one third in 2016/17.

"We can expect to see growth ... in genetic screening, we have expended our testing platform and we'll be doing serology and early obstetrics pathology testing," she said.

FALL IN IVF VOLUMES HITS VIRTUS HEALTH:

* Full year net profit down 14.6pct to $28.1m

* Revenue down 1.8 pct to $256.5m

* Final dividend down 3 cents to 12 cents, fully franked

Source: AAP

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