Protecting The Reproductive Rights Of Women

The Andrews Labor Government is making important law changes that will make it easier for women to access IVF treatment.

Amendments to the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 2008 will be introduced into Parliament today to remove the requirement that women need the approval of their former partner to access IVF using their own eggs and donor sperm.

It means a woman who is separated but not yet divorced will no longer need to seek the consent of her former partner.

The change delivers a key election commitment made in the wake of the Interim Report of Victoria’s landmark independent Review of Assisted Reproductive Treatment Services.

It follows a Federal Court ruling in September, which held the requirement for the consent of a former partner discriminated against the woman on the basis of her marital status.

The amendments also make it clear that where a married woman is separated and has a child using donor sperm, the former spouse is not regarded as the parent of the child.

The Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority – the regulator of assisted reproductive technology – will work with treatment clinics to ensure a smooth transition to the new arrangements when they come into effect.

The Authority will work with clinics to ensure they are aware of the changes and help them change consent forms to reflect the new laws.

The Labor Government is also backing more Victorians to become parents, with a $32 million commitment to provide public IVF services – bulk billed and subsidised for low-income Victorians.

And to save families the heartache of false hope, the Government has also asked the Health Complaints Commissioner to investigate the dodgy, dangerous and unethical practices of some IVF providers, with a report due by the end of the year.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos

“The requirement for a married woman to get the consent of her former spouse to access donor sperm is outdated and it’s time this decade-old law is changed.”

“We promised to get rid of this requirement and that’s exactly what we are doing because the choices that a woman makes about her body should not be determined by a former spouse.”

“These amendments are an important step towards ensuring Victoria’s assisted reproductive treatment laws are fair, up to date and reflect the expectations of our modern community.”