The Victorian Government’s once-in-a-generation reforms to assisted reproductive treatment (ART) in Victoria have taken another major step forward to making starting or building a family fairer and more accessible.
Minister for Health Martin Foley this week introduced the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Amendment Bill 2021, which makes several important changes to ART laws in Victoria following the Gorton Review.
The landmark independent review of ART by Michael Gorton AM released in July 2019 is part of a major push to make sure more Victorians have better access to safer, higher-quality treatment – free from discrimination.
It made 80 wide-ranging recommendations, and as part of the staged response to the review, these new laws deliver on a further 10 priority recommendations and related matters.
The Government has already implemented several recommendations including removing barriers for separated women to access services, reforming how surrogate mothers are reimbursed and removing the requirement to undergo police checks before accessing treatment.
The new laws will make artificial insemination more accessible, reduce barriers for people wanting to have a family, and improve access to donated eggs, sperm and embryos. The reforms will also address the discrimination that many LGBTIQ families face.
These changes will enable more families to have related children using the same donor. Currently donors can’t donate to more than ‘ten women’, but a shift to a ‘ten family’ limit will ensure that LGBTIQ couples and families using surrogacy can continue to use the same donor, even if each child is carried by a different person.
Other major changes will improve access for single women, LGBTIQ Victorians and rural and regional Victorians by:
allowing nurses and other health professionals within registered ART clinics to carry out procedures under the supervision and direction of a doctor and allowing doctors outside of registered clinics to carry out artificial insemination.
Amendments have also been made to allow a surrogate’s partner to be reimbursed costs incurred as a direct result of the surrogacy.
Victorians wanting to have children will get more certainty through changes that will only enable donors to withdraw consent up to the time the eggs or sperm are used in treatment or to create an embryo. The requirement for donors to consent to the storage or disposal will also be removed.