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August 2015

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VARTA CEO Louise Johnson.

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IVF information added to sex education programs

The Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA) and Family Planning Victoria (FPV) have produced a ground-breaking sexuality teaching resource.

The Fertility and Assisted Reproduction: Teaching Module provides information about fertility, donor conception and assisted reproductive treatment (ART), including IVF, donor conception and surrogacy.

Developed by experts in the fields of sexual and reproductive health as well as ART, the module is uniquely designed to provide Australian primary and secondary schools with a progressive educational resource.

‘This is an important addition to sexuality education,’ said VARTA Chief Executive Officer Louise Johnson.

‘Good sexuality information gives people the opportunity to make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health including managing their fertility.

‘Research shows us that around two-thirds of Australians don’t have enough information about the fertile time in a woman’s menstrual cycle.

‘Having a complete picture of reproductive health factors – like when a woman can get pregnant – allows young people to make informed decisions about their contraception and eventually about how to increase their chances of conceiving,’ Ms Johnson said.

The resource 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.

‘Sexuality education in schools should be an ongoing process – and not simply about teaching it once and then ticking it off a list,’ said FPV CEO Lynne Jordan.

‘This resource will enable teachers to build on children’s knowledge, depending on their age and requirements.’

Inclusion of information about donor conception and ART is a response to the changing landscape of schools – in particular that many children in schools have been conceived as a result of ART.

‘On average, there is now one child per classroom born from ART,’ Ms Johnson said.

‘Children need to know about this technology and how it is used to create families.

‘This resource will provide teachers with information on how best to talk about ART in order to help children understand that it is normal for families to be created in different ways.’

The Fertility and Assisted Reproduction: Teaching Module was funded by the Victorian Department of Health & Human Services.

It forms part of the broader comprehensive relationship and sexuality education program developed by FPV. It is available for download at https://www.varta.org.au/resources/publications/fertility-and-assisted-reproduction-teaching-module.

•           For further information visit www.varta.org.au or www.fpv.org.au.