Women should soon be able to access fertility treatments without permission ex spouses.
Women should soon be able to access fertility treatments without permission ex spouses.

IVF law change to end discrimination for women

Victorian women should soon be able to access fertility treatments without having to seek permission from the spouses they are separated from.

In an effort to end discrimination against women who are separated - but not divorced - from their spouses, the Andrews Government on Monday introduced legislation into parliament seeking to close a loophole.

Under current regulations married women must seek consent from their spouse to access donor sperm as part of her assisted reproductive treatment, even if they are separated.

 

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos says no woman should be under a former spouse’s control. Picture: Sarah Matray
Health Minister Jenny Mikakos says no woman should be under a former spouse’s control. Picture: Sarah Matray

Proposed legislation introduced to parliament on Monday follows a Federal Court ruling last September that found Victoria's requirements discriminated against a woman based of her marital status.

It also honours an Andrews Government election commitment made after an interim report of an ongoing review into the state's assisted reproductive treatment.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said no woman should be subject to their former partner's control.

"The requirement for a married woman to get the consent of her former spouse to access donor sperm is outdated and discriminatory and has no place in our society," she said.

"We are getting rid of this requirement in Victoria because under no circumstances should the choices a woman can make about her body or her future be determined by a former spouse.

"These amendments are a first step towards ensuring Victoria's assisted reproductive treatment laws are fair, up to date and reflect the expectations of our modern community."

The proposed legislation also pushes to remove requirements allowing a former spouse to be recognised as a parent in circumstances where a women seeks to access donor sperm after they are separated.

In another change to the Status of Children Act only counsellors with appropriate qualifications will be able to deliver counselling services in the case of traditional surrogacy arrangements.

grant.mcarthur@news.com.au