Fertility and Assisted Reproduction: Teaching Module

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Produced by Family Planning Victoria and VARTA
Last updated November 2015

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Introduction

Family Planning Victoria (FPV) believes sexuality education is paramount in teaching young people selfacceptance, good relationship skills and how to make healthy and safe sexual and reproductive health choices as a preparation for adult life. These units of work focusing on fertility, donor conception and assisted reproductive treatment (ART), developed by FPV in consultation with the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA), are best taught as a part of a comprehensive sexuality education program.
There are three lessons at each of the AusVELS Levels 3 to 10, each covering the three main topic areas mentioned above. By placing these topics within a comprehensive sexuality education program we believe children and young people will see fertility as relevant and important within the context of their future personal, social and emotional lives. Good sexuality education should empower individuals to make informed and timely decisions regarding their reproductive health. This requires raising awareness and knowledge of reproduction, factors that influence fertility and reproductive outcomes (such as age, weight, alcohol, smoking drugs, STIs and timing of intercourse) and reproductive life planning. It has become increasingly important that teachers provide information on different forms of conception as part of a sexuality education program given that many children are now conceived through ART. Children need to feel validated if they have been conceived this way. This includes covering areas such as sperm, egg and embryo donation or surrogacy.
Some families will not have told their child how they were conceived and may have concerns about how the topic is covered in a sexuality education program. Teachers may need to reassure these parents that the information given to students is knowledge based, rather than exploring values around this issue. Teachers should be encouraged to refer parents to the VARTA website for resources on talking to children about donor conception and surrogacy.

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