McGowan government urges changes to surrogacy laws and reproductive technology

By Vesh Arumugam

The McGowan Government today tabled in State Parliament a major report reviewing the State’s surrogacy and assisted reproductive technology (ART) laws.

The comprehensive review made 122 recommendations around surrogacy and reproductive technology in Western Australia.

The Review of the Western Australian Human Reproductive Technology Act 1991 and the Surrogacy Act 2008 was undertaken by independent reviewer, Associate Professor Sonia Allan.

Health Minister Roger Cook said that the report is vital to know where WA stands in terms of surrogacy laws and reproductive technology.

“This report deals with a rapidly evolving landscape and provides insight into the highly complex social, ethical and legal issues that surround the practices of ART and surrogacy.

“It also highlights the significant impact – positive and negative – that these practices can have on the individuals involved,” he said.

People who had accessed surrogacy or fertility treatments, fertility clinic staff, surrogate mothers, donor-conceived people, clinicians, academics, general practitioners and Members of Parliament were among the more than 180 individuals and organisations who contributed to the review.

“This report contains many deeply personal and moving stories and we are very grateful to those who shared their experiences with Associate Professor Allan during the consultation phase of the review,” Cook said.

Key recommendations of the report include, establishment of a government advisory body on research and issues relevant to the regulation and practise of ART and surrogacy; a donor conception register to enable all donor-conceived people to access identifying information about their donor; amendments to discriminatory provisions within the HRT and Surrogacy Acts that prevent access to ART and surrogacy; and, changes to allow patients who face impending loss of fertility or ability to bear a child, be allowed to access in vitro fertilisation procedures.

Minister Cook said that more work need to be done in these areas to ensure a better service to Western Australians.

“While there is an undeniable need to update WA’s regulation around these practices, it is imperative that any changes we adopt are workable, serve the best interests of all involved and give precedence to the welfare of individuals born as a result of such practices,” he said.

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