Melbourne donor conception exhibition a world-first

 

A world-first exhibition exploring donor conception through art, photography and archival material will be open to the public from Friday, June 5 at Melbourne’s City Library Gallery.

The 'Donor conception: towards openness' exhibition, dedicated to the memory of Narelle Grech who campaigned for the right to have information about her biological heritage, is an initiative of the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA).

“For donor-conceived people, having an understanding of their biological origins is crucial to having a complete picture of who they are – just as it is for all of us,” said VARTA CEO Louise Johnson.

In creating the exhibition, VARTA has collaborated with a committee of donors and donor-conceived people.

The photographic and art elements of the exhibition have been curated by artist, Kim Buck, a donor-conceived woman who is unable to find information about her donor as her donor records no longer exist.

The photographs being displayed are of people, families and groups, each of whom has their own unique donor-related story, summarised in accompanying text. The artworks are all thematically linked to the experience of donor conception, including children’s art and family storybooks.

The archival material components of the exhibition have been curated by Roger Clarke, a sperm donor from the 1980’s who has connected with two of his offspring. Archival pieces include donor records, original clinic recruitment material, and early media coverage.

Displays will also illustrate the many compelling human stories of donor conception through correspondence, mementos and other personal material.

"Not only is this a beautiful and moving exhibition, but it is also unprecedented both nationally and internationally. Victoria continues to be a leader in understanding the complexities and rights of people affected by donor conception," Ms Johnson said.

The exhibition is timed to highlight legislative changes made last year to the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 2008 (Vic) being implemented from June 29. These changes will mean that donor-conceived people born before 1988 will have the right to apply for information about their donor. If a donor can be located, identifying information can be provided with the donor’s consent.

The exhibition will run from June 5 to 29.

"I urge anyone who has a spare ten minutes in the city to visit the City Library Gallery to witness this exhibition - you will not regret the experience," Ms Johnson said.

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For questions please contact:

Phone: 03 8601 5250 / Mobile: 0452 515 302 / Email: [email protected]

  • Louise Johnson, CEO

Phone: 03 8601 5250 / Mobile: 0419 557 639 / Email: [email protected]

For more information about VARTA please visit www.varta.org.au.

Funding for VARTA is provided by the Victorian Department of Health & Human Services.