VARTA is an independent statutory authority, whose work is informed by the following guiding principles:
- The welfare and interests of persons born or to be born as a result of treatment procedures are paramount.
- At no time should the use of treatment procedures be for the purpose of exploiting, in trade or otherwise: (i) The reproductive capabilities of men or women or (ii) Children born as a result of treatment procedures.
- Children born as a result of the use of donated gametes have a right to information about their genetic parents.
- The health and wellbeing of persons undergoing treatment procedures must be protected at all times.
- Persons seeking to undergo treatment procedures must not be discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation, marital status, race or religion.
VARTA was established under Part 10 of the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 2008 (the Act). The Authority reports to the Victorian Minister for Health. Periodically, the Minister provides the Authority with a Statement of Expectations to guide the Authority’s work. The Authority’s response outlines an action plan related to the Minister’s Statement of Expectations.
VARTA's specific functions under the Act include:
- Registration of assisted reproductive treatment clinics.
- Public education about treatment procedures and the best interests of children born as a result of treatment procedures
- Management of the donor conception registers
- Support and advice to people applying to the donor conception registers and to those contacted as a result of an application
- Provision of donor-linking services to consenting donor-conceived people, donors, descendants of donor-conceived people, recipients of donor treatment and relatives
- Facilitation of information exchange or correspondence and assisting contact between consenting parties.
- Community consultation about matters relevant to the Act
- Monitoring of developments, trends and activities relating to the causes and prevention of infertility and in the assisted reproductive treatment industry in Victoria, Australia and internationally
- Promotion of research into the causes and prevention of infertility
- Approval of the import and export of donated eggs, sperm and embryos formed from donor gametes in and out of Victoria, and to provide for the exemption from particular provisions
- Any other functions conferred on the Authority by or under this or any other Act.
Further information is contained in VARTA's Annual Report.