New data reveals changing face of family formations in Victoria

Media Release

Heterosexual couples comprised only 15 per cent of families formed as a result of donor conception in Victoria between 2014-15, according to the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority’s (VARTA’s) Annual Report 2015, released today.

Of the 1362 women who received donor treatment in Victoria during the reporting period, only 202 women were in heterosexual relationships (15%), while 684 were single women (50%), and 476 women were in same-sex relationships (35%), revealing the increasing diversity of family formations occurring as a result of donor treatment.

‘Donor conception is providing women and couples with an opportunity to create families in a regulated, quality-assured framework,’ said VARTA CEO Louise Johnson.

‘Since the implementation of changes to donor legislation in 2010, which allowed fertile single women and those in same-sex relationships to have access to donor treatment, there has been a considerable rise in demand for donor sperm,” said Ms Johnson. “This, in turn, has resulted in a growing number of families being created in Victoria through donor treatment.”

The number of new sperm donors recruited increased by 79 per cent in 2014-2015, with 109 new sperm donors recruited in 2014-15 compared to 61 in 2013-14. However, clinics have reported that demand for donor sperm continue to outstretch supply.

‘Despite clinics successfully recruiting many new sperm donors in the past year, the considerable increase in demand for donor treatment by single women and those in relationships means that supply is still to catch up with demand,’ Ms Johnson said.

For the first time VARTA has also collected data about the number of women freezing and using their eggs. In 2013-14, 53 women in Victoria used their own cryopreserved eggs (frozen and stored eggs) for treatment, resulting in 12 live births.

The 2014-2015 reporting period saw 533 women with ovarian tissue in storage and 1085 with (non-donor) cryopreserved eggs in storage. This compares with a combined total of 1309 women who stored ovarian tissue or eggs (as per the previous data collection criteria) in 2013-14.

In relation to donor eggs, 212 women commenced treatment using fresh donor eggs and 52 women commenced treatment utilising cryopreserved donor eggs.

‘The fact that more than 200 women used local egg donors last year debunks the idea that people have to travel overseas for treatment if they need donor eggs,’ said Ms Johnson. ‘Using a local egg donor and having treatment locally can have tremendous benefits – legally, financially and emotionally - and these figures are good news for people considering donor egg treatment.’

Of the women using cryopreserved donor eggs, 50 (96%) used donor eggs imported from overseas.

Overall, the use of egg, sperm and embryo donor treatment increased by 10 per cent, with a total of

1441 recipients of treatment in 2014-15 compared with 1306 in 2013-14.

The report shows a 26 per cent increase in the number of women receiving preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) for detection of numerical chromosome abnormalities, with 503 women receiving treatment in 2014-15 compared with 399 in 2013-14.

There was also a slight increase in the number of women undergoing assisted reproductive treatment in the state, from 11308 in 2014-15 compared with 11113 in 2013-14.

The full report is available on the VARTA website


Media contacts

Marjorie Solomon, PR Officer, VARTA

Phone: 03 8601 5250

Mobile: 0452 515 302


Louise Johnson, CEO, VARTA

Phone: 03 8601 5250

Mobile: 0419 557 639