Department of Health

Better access and more choice for Victorians starting a family

14/08/22
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Reforms to assisted reproductive treatment (ART) laws are continuing to make it easier for more Victorians to start or build their family.

New laws coming into effect this week mean prospective parents can meet with any counsellor who meets the prescribed requirements – not just those based at registered ART clinics – to complete the counselling required before artificial insemination.

This removes unfair barriers for rural and regional Victorians and gives prospective parents more freedom to choose which counsellor they wish to discuss their journey of starting, or expanding, their family with.   

The latest reforms also provide more certainty for those opting for donor conception, giving them more say over how the embryo is managed. 

The Department of Health is supporting the staged rollout of these changes, which commenced in September 2019 following the landmark independent review of ART by Michael Gorton AM. 

They are part of a major push to make sure more Victorians have better access to safer, higher-quality, discrimination-free treatment, supported by guiding principles that are inclusive of all Victorians.

In June 2022, a change came into effect that allowed nurses and other trained health professionals to perform artificial insemination under doctor direction and supervision in registered ART clinics, providing more Victorians with easier access to lower-cost treatment options.

The change also gives women more choice on who performs the procedure, which may benefit Victorians with specific preferences due to cultural, religious or other personal reasons. 

The amendments earlier this year also expanded the family arrangements where a surviving partner can use the eggs or sperm of their deceased partner in a surrogacy arrangement, giving more surviving partners a greater chance of still being able to have a child. 

Prior to these changes, the Victorian Government had already implemented several other recommendations from the Gorton Review, including removing barriers for separated women to access services and reforming how surrogate mothers are reimbursed. 

In addition, the government removed the requirement to undergo discriminatory and unnecessary police checks before accessing treatment. 

Reviewed 15 August 2022

Health.vic

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