The Surrogacy Podcast Episode 37: Kate from VARTA, where we talk about donor conception and what it is to be donor conceived.

Kate Bourne is the Donor Services Manager at the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA), which 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. Kate talked to me about VARTA’s work with supporting parents, donors and donor-conceived people, and the importance of being truthful about donor conception and telling early. VARTA hosts Time to Tell seminars each year, and also provides a wealth of information and resources for anyone in the donor and surrogacy community.

When it comes to making decisions about using a donor or surrogate in Australia or overseas, Kate has a litmus test that she suggests people apply:  When I talk to my children, can I hold my head up high and say, this is a lovely story to tell them? Is there any part of the story that is awkward to tell?

Kate and I also talked about VARTA’s Donor Legacy Project, which aims to provide resources that can assist donors to create and submit information to the Voluntary Register. The Legacy Project is an option to leave a video, or online photobook, for donor-conceived offspring to access at a later date. I love this idea and will be making a video of the DCPs I’ve helped to create.

VARTA has a wealth of resources, for surrogates, intended parents, donors and donor-conceived people. Check out their website, which is useful for anyone, regardless of which State you live in. You can also read more about how donor conception is no longer anonymous, and the impact on donor conceived people.

You can listen to other stories involving donor conception, including donor-conceived person Hayley, or parent through donor conception, Gail. Several donors have also shared their stories, including Amber, and genetic genealogist Emma Lee.

Have a read of this post if you are looking for a surrogate in Australia.

Hi! I’m Sarah Jefford (she/her). I’m a family creation lawyer, practising in surrogacy and donor conception arrangements. I’m an IVF mum, an egg donor and a traditional surrogate, and I delivered a baby for two dads in 2018

I advocate for positive, best practice surrogacy arrangements within Australia, and provide support and education to help intended parents make informed decisions when pursuing overseas surrogacy.

more than just a baby