As both assisted reproductive treatment itself and the needs and expectations of participants and the public continue to change, the role of VARTA is critical to the effective operation of the assisted reproductive treatment system and the welfare of all of the people it touches. Kirsten Mander, VARTA Chairperson since 2010.
The Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA) was established under the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 2008, which commenced on 1 January 2010. It replaced the Infertility Treatment Authority (ITA) that was established under the Infertility Treatment Act 1995.
The introduction of the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 2008 heralded not only a new name for the Authority but created significant changes in every aspect of the its work. Transfer of the donor registers to the Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) and the change from a licensing to a registration system for ART providers were two key changes. Public education about assisted reproductive treatment and promoting research into the causes and prevention of infertility is now a major function for VARTA.
VARTA's role continues to evolve. The Assisted Reproductive Treatment Further Amendment Act 2014 expanded the functions of VARTA to provide counselling, intermediary and support services to applicants to the donor registers and those affected by the applications including: donor-conceived people, donors, descendants of donor-conceived people, recipients of donor treatment and relatives. The provisions will come into effect no later than 29 June 2015. The 2014 Act also amended the Human Tissue Act 1982 to allow the Minister for Health to delegate approval of advertisements for egg donors to VARTA.