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Police checks to be removed for IVF patients

Michael Gorton AM

This was covered by The Age as a news article and again as an opinion piece.

The Victorian Government has introduced legislation into Parliament to remove the requirement for police checks and child protection order checks to be deleted as a pre-requisite for Victorians to undertaken IVF procedures.

The Government announced:-

“This Bill will remove the requirement that women and their partners, if they have one and parties to a surrogacy arrangement, must undergo a police and children protection order check, prior to accessing Assisted Reproductive Treatment. It will ensure that people are not discriminated against on the basis of needing to access assisted reproductive treatment to create their family”.

Russell Kennedy Principal, Michael Gorton AM, issued a landmark report to the Victorian Government last year, recommending a range of changes and options to improve access to and experience of IVF procedures for Victorians.

Mr Gorton noted in his Report:-

“In terms of presumptions against treatment, many responses to the Review’s consultations suggested that Victoria’s system of conducting police and child protection checks for all people undergoing ART and establishing a presumption against treatment could be reconsidered. As reported in the Review’s Interim Report, this requirement received more comment during the public consultations and survey conducted in 2018 than any other issue with the exception of cost. In later consultations with stakeholders, including clinics, patients and service users, this issue continued to be raised. The Review has heard many reports of the cost, burden, delay and distress caused by this requirement. The Review has not heard any evidence of the effectiveness of this system in preventing the abuse of children. The system could be dismantled without creating significant risk to children, or revised to better target the risks of family violence and the risks to children. Such a reform would be welcomed across the board by ART users, health and legal practitioners, and ART providers”.

This legislation is, in part, a response to that Report.

The Government acknowledged in Parliament:-

“Implementing this Bill addresses significant concern in Victoria about the requirement for the checks that was raised during the Review of the Assisted Reproductive Treatment commissioned by the Victorian Government in May 2018 and undertaken by Michael  Gorton  AM (the Gorton Review)”.

The requirement for police and child protection order checks has operated for almost ten years in Victoria, and has been controversial and opposed by the IVF industry.

Victoria is the only State that has these stringent requirements.

The “Assisted Reproductive Treatment Amendment Bill 2020” is currently before Parliament. It is expected to have the support of both major parties in Parliament. If enacted, the legislation will take affect at a future date to be announced by the Victorian Government.

If you require assistance or more information on the National Health Practitioner Regulation Scheme, please contact Michael Gorton on (03) 9609 1505.

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