GenV is a research project with a simple but hugely important goal: To transform the health and wellbeing of an entire generation of Victorians.
Over a 2 year period, they’re asking parents of newborns to be a part of it by safely and securely sharing their information about themselves and the health and wellbeing of their newborn.
This information will give the researchers a complete picture of child health, development, and wellbeing in Victoria, so that they can help to improve the lives of all families.
We know you probably have lots of questions about it, so we asked one of the parents who signed up to be part of the project. In this interview, mum Sangita explains her reasons for participating and what her experience has been like.
Sangita…. Why did you decide to become a part of GenV?
I think it’s really important for children’s health, now and later on, that we gather as much information from as many parents as possible. The more information the researchers have, the more they can find. It’s really important to get as many people as possible into this kind of study.
Your point about needing as many parents as possible – why do you think that matters so much?
The more diversity you can build into the types of people you ask to join means you will get more accurate information – if it’s a limited number of people then the researchers just won’t know if what they find out is actually real. Lots of people involved will help show them that what they find out is linked.
GenV was created to help find new answers to many childhood conditions – What types of health conditions would you like to see GenV help with?
For me personally autism is something I’d really like to know more about- it’s something that at the moment there’s no way of knowing about until kids are slightly older, if there’s anything that could be done during the pregnancy to maybe identify early if there’s an issue then that’s something I would definitely like to see happen.
Diabetes is the other condition because it’s hereditary in my family. I had gestational diabetes so it would be good if there were ways to identify these types of conditons perhaps early on- before they become a problem later on.
What sort of experience have you had with GenV so far?
In the hospital everything was done on an ipad that GenV provided, so that process was really simple, there was nothing invasive, the questions were all easy to understand and very straightforward – yes or no answers. They did a swab of Maddie’s cheek but that wasn’t an issue – It wasn’t like you needed your Medicare number or anything annoying.
What would say to other parents who are thinking about being a part of GenV?
The more information we can get the more valuable the whole program will be – if you don’t get that many people join then the information isn’t as valuable- you need that large amount of information to see the links with certain conditions – I’m surprised nothing like this has been done before!
How important was it to you that the Royal Children’s hospital is involved?
Incredibly important. Having places like the Royal Children’s and the University of Melbourne just said to me this is a genuine program where they are going to do world class research. It’s a lot bigger than just a program run by the hospital that you are having your baby.