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VARTA provides independent information and support for individuals, couples, and health professionals on fertility, infertility, assisted reproductive treatment (ART) and the best interests of children born.
 
 

 

June 2015
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Welcome note from Louise Johnson, VARTA CEO

We are currently in the midst of an extraordinary time in the history of donor conception legislation in Victoria. Yesterday marked the implementation of the 2014 amendments to the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act. Donor-conceived people born before 1988 now have the right to apply for identifying information about their donors (pre-1988 donors donated on the basis of anonymity). If a donor is located, identifying information can be provided with the donor’s consent. In line with the changes to the legislation, VARTA this week launched its Donor Register Services, which will provide information and support to anyone who is affected by donor conception in Victoria.

But the situation is facing further change. On Saturday, at the National Conference for Donor Conceived People, the Victorian Government announced its proposed amendments to give all donor-conceived people rights to access identifying information about their donors - regardless of when they were born and without having to seek consent from a donor. However, protections are proposed for donors, with the requirement for contact preferences to be respected. To support this, the Government has released a discussion paper, ‘The Right to Know’, which outlines how the proposed changes will work. It is calling for submissions to the paper. A link to the discussion paper can also be found on the VARTA website.

In addition to activity around the legislative changes, it has been a tremendously busy three months for VARTA. A headline summary of all the things we have achieved can be found below.

We 
look forward to seeing what the second half of the year will bring.

Donor register services

In accordance with amendments to the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act, VARTA has established its new Donor Register Services (DRS). From this week, the DRS will provide support and information to people applying to the donor registers and to those contacted as a result of an application. The service is being offered to: 

  • donor-conceived people
  • parents who have used a donor
  • donors
  • relatives or descendants of the above.

Visit the DRS section on the VARTA website for more information or call (03) 8601 5250 to speak to one of our counsellors.

Application forms for the donor registers can be downloaded here 

Donor conception: towards openness 

The Donor conception: towards openness exhibition ran at the City Library Gallery throughout June 2015. The exhibition, which explored donor conception through art, photography and archival material, was timed to highlight the implementation of the changes in Victorian donor conception legislation, implemented yesterday. 

The launch attracted more than 100 guests, including the family of Narelle Grech, to whose memory the exhibition was dedicated, and members of the Victorian Parliamentary Law Reform Committee. Since the launch there has been a steady stream of visitors to the exhibition. We are delighted to have received so much positive feedback.

It is with some sadness that the exhibition was dismantled today. However, in the coming months, it will be re-housed in a virtual form on the VARTA website, where it will continue to accept new submissions. If you would like to submit a piece to be included in the online gallery, please email Ellen Crocker 
 

VARTA's new website

In April, VARTA launched its new and updated website, with a fresh, modern look that reflects the aims, functions and services of the authority.

The site is built around VARTA's large stock of resources and includes a restructuring of old content and development of new. Feedback has been positive and we continue to encourage people to visit the site and provide us with their impressions of the website and their user experience.  
 

New VARTA postcard

VARTA has produced new postcards and posters to highlight the range of services and information it provides to the public.

Postcards will be distributed to clinics and other relevant outlets in order to alert people that VARTA is available to them as a source of independent information and support on fertility, infertility, assisted reproductive treatment (ART) and the best interests of children born.

If you would like to order postcards or posters, please contact Ellen Crocker or call (03) 8601 5250.  
 

Time to tell seminar

The Time to tell seminar continues to be a popular seminar for VARTA audiences. Held on 18th April at Northcote High School, the event attracted more than 90 participants.

Feedback from this year's seminar was good with particular praise for an interactive panel session that participants described as providing important insights for families, couched in humour and practicalities. Stay tuned for information about next year's event.  
 

Family storybook workshop

The Family Storybook workshop, now in its second year, was held on 19th April at Northcote High School. The event was planned and facilitated by VARTA community educators together with a group of mothers of donor-conceived children who have created their own storybooks.

Participants talked about their own experiences, describing the inspiration and comfort they took from storybooks. Capacity was increased for the 2015 workshop.  
 

New VARTA brochures

VARTA has published four new brochures this year. The brochures provide up-to-date information in easily accessible language on these important and often sensitive areas of interest:
Electronic versions of the brochures are available online at the VARTA website. Hard copies can be ordered from VARTA online. 
 

Fertility Week 2015 

This year's Fertility Week theme will focus on obesity and the impact that weight can have on a person's fertility, on having a healthy pregnancy and on outcomes for children. 

Fertility Week 2015 will launch on Tuesday 1st September, in line with the first day of spring. If you would like to help support Fertility Week 2015 please email Ellen Crocker 
 

Save the date: Louis Waller Lecture

This year's Louis Waller Lecture will take place during Fertility Week 2015. Guest lecturer, Professor Sarah Robertson, will focus on pre-conception health and the links between obesity, lifestyle behaviour and fertility for the event. 

Professor Robertson, is Director at the Robinson Research Institute, a member of the Fertility Coalition. More information to come soon. 

Upcoming Events

September 1 -7 
Fertility Week
Find out more

Thursday September 3
Louis Waller Lecture
Details to come 
 


 


 

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