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.


October 2015
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Welcome note from Louise Johnson, VARTA CEO

Since the implementation of the 2014 amendments to the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act on 29 June things have been busy for VARTA staff and, in particular, for the donor register services, with a large number of referrals to VARTA from the Registry of Births, Death and Marriages.
In July, VARTA and Family Planning Victoria launched the Fertility and assisted reproduction teaching module for primary and secondary schools. This groundbreaking resource has been enthusiastically received by teachers, parents and the general public.

We were thrilled to have Professor Sarah Robertson of the Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide, deliver this year's Louis Waller lecture on the subject 'Parenting begins before conception'. The lecture was timed to coincide with Fertility Week 2015 which this year focused on the impact that being overweight can have on fertility. 

It has been an extraordinary year so far and we look forward to seeing what the final quarter of 2015 will bring.

Donor register services

Since the launch of VARTA's donor register services on 29 June - in line with the implementation of changes to the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act -  there has been significant activity for VARTA in this area. In the past three months, VARTA has already received more than 60 referrals from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) regarding applications to the central and voluntary registers.

Fertility and assisted reproduction: 
teaching module

In July, VARTA and Family Planning Victoria launched a ground-breaking new sexuality teaching resource, The fertility and assisted reproduction: teaching module. Developed by experts in the fields of sexual and reproductive health as well as ART, the module aims to raise awareness and knowledge about reproduction and factors that influence fertility and reproductive outcomes, including age, weight, alcohol, smoking, drugs and STIs. It also looks at reproductive life planning. Teachers will be able to refer to the module throughout primary and secondary school years, adding and improving on students’ understanding of the issues and tailoring information according to the capacity of students to understand. More information is available here.

Louis Waller lecture 2015:
Parenting begins before conception

Professor Sarah Robertson from the Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide, delivered the Louis Waller lecture 2015, to an audience of around 100 people on 3 September. The lecture, entitled 'Parenting begins before conception', discussed her research findings that lifestyle and environmental factors for both parents in the months leading up to conception can directly impact on the health of a child at birth and into adulthood, and the so-called ‘epigenetic’ mechanisms involved. Epigenetics affect the life course potential of offspring, particularly their susceptibility to non-communicable diseases including heart disease, diabetes, allergy and asthma, and neurological conditions. This year's Louis Waller lecture was timed to coincide with Fertility Week 2015. VARTA has recorded a video interview with Professor Robertson on her research which will soon be available on the VARTA and Your Fertility websites.

Fertility Week 2015

Fertility Week 2015 took place in the first week of September, focusing on the impact that being overweight or obese can have on a person's fertility. With a heavy emphasis on public education via social media, the week saw a social media audience reach of more than 2.5 million people. The project also had considerable coverage in print and online media as well as on commercial and public radio. For more information visit Your Fertility.


Save the date: Hope, hype and reality - can we make eggs and sperm?

This year's Twilight seminar, run in conjunction with Stem Cells Australia, will discuss current views and scientific realities for the creation of artificial gametes. 
When: 19 November at 6pm
Where: Russell Kennedy, Level 12, 469 La Trobe Street, Melbourne
More information to come shortly.

Upcoming Events

19 November
Twilight seminar: Hope, hype and reality - can we make eggs and sperm?
Details to come

26 November
Support group for donor-conceived adults
For information



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