Protecting Victorian Women Through Assisted Reproduction

The Andrews Labor Government will review Victoria’s assisted reproductive services for the first time in a decade, and strengthen current laws to provide more safeguards and support to women accessing these services.

The review of the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act will ensure women and families using assisted reproduction are supported through their entire treatment, and make sure they are receiving realistic information when it comes to their reproductive journey.

Assisted reproductive treatment is often an extremely vulnerable and trying process for women – and since the Act’s last review in 2007, technology, community attitudes and supply and demand for treatment have evolved significantly.

The 12-month review, to begin this month, will be conducted by Michael Gorton – a lawyer with a wealth of experience in the health sector as the Chair of Alfred Health, former chair of the Patient Review Panel and Ambulance Victoria board member.

Some of the issues to be considered by the review relate to:

  • Whether there are adequate safeguards to protect consumers using or intending to use assisted reproductive treatment services
  • Whether regulatory framework remains appropriate within an evolving market for assisted reproductive treatment
  • Whether evolving market and regulatory framework has implications for access and affordability of assisted reproductive treatment services.

As well as an increase in those providing these services, demand has increased along with changing community attitudes, such as people choosing to have children later in life or to freeze their eggs.

It will be important that organisations and individuals have an opportunity to share their views through the review process, which will be informed by an open public consultation process.

In 2016/17, 12,495 Victorians access assisted reproductive services.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

“Everyone knows somebody with a story of assisted reproduction – and while there are stories of joy, many people’s experiences end in heartbreak.”

Assisted reproductive technology is constantly evolving – so we want to make sure our legislation keeps up with treatment options, and allows those using the services to feel safe and supported through their treatment.”

“With extensive experience in healthcare law and governance, I’m confident Michael Gorton will lead this review and help us make sure our health services are working for all Victorians.”