Regulatory Information

State Regulators of the Assisted Reproduction Treatment Acts , registers and information:

 

Australia:

No commonwealth legislation enacted for the ART legislation.  However the following are national guidelines for ART; NHMRC – Ethical guidelines on the use of Assisted Reproductive Technology in Clinical Practice & Research and RTAC – Code of Practice for Assisted Reproductive Technology Units – October 2010 Certification Scheme October 2010.

No Commonwealth legislation for Surrogacy and/or research to date.

In relation to donor treatment procedures and parenting, the Family Law Act 1975 legislation comes into play.

Surrogacy:

If you have come to the conclusion with your Fertility specialist that you need a surrogate, the hard part is to find one.  Depending on your privacy, some tell all their friends and family in the hope that someone may come forward to help them with their only option to have a child.  Some are more private and will ask particular family members or friends.  Keep in mind that you need to approach this respectfully as the person and/or their family may not be comfortable with the idea, it may affect your relationship with them going forwards. Most importantly when discussing this with them, assure them that you want them to think it through, be honest and that you are ok with them and your relationship if they decide they can’t help you.

There is a prohibition in Australia on publishing an advertisement or notice, or attempting to publicly seek a surrogate or indicate a willingness to act as a surrogate. This includes placing an advertisement in a newspaper, publishing through television, radio or the Internet or publicising through other means to the public. This extends to a prohibition on ART clinics doing so on behalf of their patients.  You are also not permitted to pay the surrogate any more than the prescribed costs, in Australia, commercial surrogacy (that is, where the surrogate makes a profit out of the surrogacy arrangement) is not allowed. Surrogates may only be reimbursed for ‘prescribed costs’ incurred as a direct result of the surrogacy. According to the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Regulations 2009, these may include:

  • Medical expenses associated with the pregnancy or birth (doctors’ fees, medication, medical scans, etc)
  • Costs of legal advice and counseling necessary to satisfy the requirements for approval by the PRP, or prior to obtaining a substitute parentage order
  • Travel expenses that are incurred in relation to the pregnancy or birth.

The surrogacy costs that are paid to the birth mother are to be agreed upon together when making the surrogacy arrangement. The surrogacy arrangement should clearly state these decisions and what expenses and costs will be reimbursed to the surrogate.  Please get legal advice/representation for this.

Surrogacy involves medical, counseling and legal costs, so it can be expensive.  Be prepared to pay for IVF specialists, counseling, legal advice, and the cost of IVF cycles, as well as any agreed reimbursements for the surrogate.  Clinic fees may vary depending on which clinic is used, what procedure is required to impregnate the surrogate, and how many attempts at impregnating the surrogate are undertaken. It is recommended that you discuss the details of costs with your clinic directly before going ahead with any agreements.

Medicare does not cover surrogacy costs in Australia.

A surrogate can not use her own eggs if the commissioning mother is unable to, this is called partial surrogacy (where the surrogate’s egg is used to conceive a child), and it is prohibited in Victoria and across Australia.

In Australia, only gestational surrogacy is permitted. In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate is implanted with an embryo created with an egg from another woman (either a commissioning parent, or donated from another individual) and the sperm from another man (either a commissioning parent, or donated from another individual).

 

Victoria:

ART legislation – Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 2008 & Assisted Reproductive Treatment Regulations 2009.

Surrogacy – Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 2008 (Part 4, Surrogacy).

Research – Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction Act 2008. Research Involving Human Embryos Act 2008.

Donor Treatment procedures and Parentage – Status of Children Act 1974. Human Tissue Act 1982.

Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA), this is a statutory authority responsible for administering aspects of the ART Act 2008.  This site provides information and resources especially in regard to legislation and the registry.

VIC Donor Conceived Register this is managed by VIC births, deaths and marriages under the ART Act 2008.

The VIC Donor Conceived Central Register  & Voluntary Register – These registers record information about the people who are connected to assisted reproductive treatment (ART), such as: the donor/s the woman who underwent treatment using donated gametes (i.e. egg or sperm) or a donated embryo, and her partner (if any) the donor conceived person. Information held on the registers may include details such as full name, date of birth and medical history.

The registered clinic or doctor who provides the donor treatment procedure supplies the information for the Central Register to the Registry. Eligible people may choose to lodge information for the Voluntary Register to the Registry. The ART Act outlines conditions for access to information held in the registers, including who can apply for access and what information may be released.

VIC Central register – who can apply for information:

  • a donor conceived person
  • a parent of a donor conceived person
  • a descendant of a donor conceived person
  • a donor.

If you are a donor conceived person you are entitled to obtain information about your donor/s. However there are some exceptions:

  • Donations made prior to 1 January 1998 – If the consent to use the donation from which you were conceived was given between 1 July 1988 and 31 December 1997, the donor’s consent to release the information is required.
  • Donations made prior to 1 July 1988 –  These donations were made on the condition of anonymity. No information will be available about the donor/s unless the donor/s has lodged their information on the Voluntary Register.

The parent of a donor conceived person may obtain information about the donor/s if the donor/s has consented.

A descendant of a donor conceived person may obtain information about the donor/s if the donor/s has consented.

The donor/s may obtain information about a donor conceived person or the donor conceived person’s parent/s if they have consented.

How to apply for information:

You can apply for information from the Central Register by submitting a Central Register application form. An application fee applies.  The information you receive will depend on what information is held on the Central Register and whether the person to whom the information relates has given consent.

 

VIC Volunteer Register- who can lodge or apply for information?

  • a donor conceived person
  • a parent of a donor conceived person
  • a relative of a donor conceived person
  • a descendant of a donor conceived person
  • a donor
  • a relative of a donor.

How to lodge information:

You can lodge information about yourself on the Voluntary Register and apply for information about other people connected to a Victorian donor conceived birth by submitting a Voluntary Register application form.  There is no fee for this service.

Note. You will only receive information where there is a ‘match’ between you and another person whose details are held in the Voluntary Register.

 

In  2008 the new Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 2008 was passed through the Victorian Parliament the changes included the following:

17B Birth registration of child conceived by a treatment procedure

(1) If a birth registration statement specifies the child was conceived by a donor treatment procedure, the Registrar must mark the words “donor conceived” against the entry about the child’s birth in the Register.
(2) Subject to subsection (3), when the Registrar issues a certificate certifying particulars contained in an entry about the birth of a person conceived by a donor treatment procedure, the Registrar must attach an addendum to the certificate stating that further information is available about the entry.
(3) The Registrar must not issue the addendum referred to in subsection (2) to any person other than the person conceived by a donor treatment procedure named in the entry.

This change shows that the Victorian Parliament considers that donor conceived people to have a right to information just like adoptees do.

VARTA also have fabulous resources available including brochures and books for your journey.

Finding an egg donor – a new brochure from VARTA – Finding an egg donor can seem impossible. Many people looking for a donor wonder where to begin and who they could possibly ask. This information aims to help guide people through the process of finding and building a relationship with a local donor, step-by-step. It includes material on: what makes an ideal egg donor; asking someone you know; advertising and internet forums; possible questions to ask and negotiating future contact.

Download the Finding an egg donor brochure at www.varta.org.au/

What to do with your unused embryos – a new brochure and decision tool from VARTA – People who have embryos in storage for use in assisted reproductive treatment often find it difficult to decide what to do with the embryos when they are no longer receiving treatment, click here to download the tool and the brochure.

VARTA also have information on reproductive health, reproductive treatment, donor conception and surrogacy as well as providing personal stories, lectures and seminars and support groups.

To register your interest to receive information about future seminars and events please email varta@varta.org.au.

Placing an Advertisment for an Egg Donor in Victoria – When placing an ad for a donor if you are a Victorian Resident it is a legal requirement for you to have your draft advertisement approved.  To do this send your draft copy to: Minister for Health, Department of Human Services, GPO Box 4057, Melbourne VIC 3001.   If you are having trouble wording your ad, look at other ads as a guide but most importantly be yourself and include why you need a donor as well as your ability to travel and that you will cover all reasonable out of pocket expenses.  It is a good idea not to put in your personal phone numbers and to set up a separate email address purely for your search for an Egg Donor.

Surrogacy – is a form of assisted reproductive treatment (ART) in which a woman agrees to carry and give birth to a child on behalf of another person or couple. The Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 2008 allows surrogacy in Victoria for individuals or couples who may not otherwise be able to have children.  Surrogacy may be possible in other states of Australia, it’s crucial that you seek advice regarding specific legislation in your state. 

 

New South Wales:

ART legislation – Assisted Reproductive Technology Act 2007 & Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation 2009.

Surrogacy – Surrogacy Act 2010 No 102.

Research – Research Involving Human Embryos (New South Wales)  t.2003.   Human Cloning for Reproduction and Other Prohibited Practices Act  2003

Donor Treatment procedures and Parentage – Status of Children Act 1996.

Here you will find a summary of the Assisted Reproductive Technology Act, links to the Central Register, details on Surrogacy, Forms,  FAQ’s and a Glossary of terms.

The Assisted Reproductive Technology Act 2007 (ART Act), which regulates many of the ethical and social aspects of assisted reproductive technology, commenced in 2010 and details can be found here.

NSW Register:

The ART Act and Regulation established the Central Register to contain information about donors and children born as a result of ART treatment using donated gametes (sperm and ova). Individuals conceived using donated gametes can, once they turn 18 years of age, access information on the Central Register. Parents of individuals conceived using donated gametes and donors can also access certain information on the Central Register.

Mandatory Information:

Since 1 January 2010 ART providers have been required to provide mandatory information regarding every child born as a result of ART treatment using donated sperm, eggs or embryos, or born through surrogacy, and whose conception occurred after 1 January 2010, to the NSW Ministry of Health for inclusion on the Central Register. The information that is required to be provided is:
  • the full name, sex and date of birth of every child born as a result of ART treatment by the ART provider
  • the name of the woman who gave birth to the child
  • the full name and date and place of birth of the gamete donor.
The ART provider must also provide identifying information about the donors who donate sperm, eggs or embryos.  Donors must provide the following Mandatory Information to ART providers for inclusion on the Central Register:
  • Full name, residential address, date and place of birth
  • Ethnicity and physical characteristics
  • Any medical history or genetic test results of the donor or the donor’s family that are relevant to the future health of:
    • a person undergoing ART treatment involving the use of  the donated sperm, eggs or embryo, or
    • any offspring born as a result of that treatment, or
    • any descendent of any such offspring,
  • sex and year of birth of other offspring arising from the donation
  • name of each ART provider who has previously obtained donated sperm, eggs or embryo from the donor and the date on which the sperm, eggs or embryos were obtained.

Voluntary Information:

People who were donor conceived before 1 January 2010 and people  who fall within the transitional provisions of the ART Act, can register any of the above information about themselves on the Central Register.  Donors who donated sperm, eggs or embryos before 1 January 2010 can also register their details.
 
Where both the donor and donor conceived person have given their express consent to do so, information about each other can be exchanged.
 
The NSW government says they will place an addendum on birth certificates so that when a donor conceived person applies for a copy they will be told that further information is available to them; this will include the fact that they are donor conceived. Their birth certificates will look no different than anyone else’s.
 
The Government is also looking at extending the roll of the NSW Registers and suggesting that they will look into how to collect and safeguard donor conception information still stored at individual IVF clinics.

NSW Donor Conception Brochure

NSW Contact details: Private Health Care Unit, Assisted Reproductive Technology, Department of Health Locked Mail Bag 961 North Sydney NSW 2059 Ph: (02) 9424 5955 Email: artphcu@doh.health.nsw.gov.au

 

South Australia:

ART legislation – Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 1988 & Assisted Reproductive Treatment Regulations 2010. 

Surrogacy – Statutes Amendment (Surrogacy) Act 2009.

Research – Research Involving Human Embryos Act 2003. Prohibition of Human Cloning Act 2003.

Donor Treatment procedures and Parentage – Family Relationships Act 1975.

Fertility Services The Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 1988 sets out the circumstances in which a person (or couple) can access assisted reproductive treatment at a registered clinic in South Australia.

Eligibility:

Access to treatment in South Australia is based on specific criteria and clinical need. Assisted reproductive treatment cannot be provided to a woman who has reached the average age of menopause.

A person (or couple) can access treatment at a registered clinic:

  • If the woman or her partner are, or appear to be, infertile.  This usually means at least 12 months of unprotected intercourse or an inability to carry a pregnancy to term. To determine infertility, a clinic will normally undertake tests on both the woman and her partner (if any).
  • If there is a risk that a serious genetic defect, disease or illness would be transmitted to a child conceived naturally.  You will need to contact your GP, an assisted reproductive treatment clinic or a genetic specialist to see if you qualify under this criterion.
  • If a woman’s deceased partner/spouse has left written instructions/directions that his sperm could be used for the benefit of his widow to conceive a child (posthumous use of sperm or embryos) – conditions apply
  • For the purposes of a recognised surrogacy agreement.
  • In the event of future infertility as a result of a serious medical condition/disease or from the treatment for the condition itself
    (for example chemotherapy which may render a person infertile)

For more information on eligibility, including assessment for eligibility, see the Access to ART at a registered clinic in South Australia fact sheet click here.

ART Provider Register The Assisted Reproductive Treatment Provider Register contains information about registered assisted reproductive treatment providers in South Australia and the conditions of their registration.

This register does not contain information about individuals receiving treatment.

Registered providers:

See the links below for the information on current providers listed in the register.

SA Contact details: Research and Ethics Policy Unit, Policy and Intergovernmental Relations Division, SA Health PO Box 287xx Rundle Mall SA 5000 Ph: (08) 8226 6048 Email: art@health.sa.gov.au

 

Western Australia:

ART legislation – Human Reproductive Technology Act 1991 & Human Reproductive Technology Act Directions 2004. 

Surrogacy – Surrogacy Act 2008, Family Court (Surrogacy) Rules 2009 & Surrogacy Regulations 2009.

Research – Covered in Human Reproductive Technology Act 1991.

Donor Treatment procedures and Parentage – Artificial Conception Act 1985.

The Reproductive Technology Council – The RTC has a central role in the regulation of assisted reproductive technology and related research in Western Australia. The RTC was established as part of the Human Reproductive Technology Act 1991 (HRT Act).  See all legislations here.

The HRT Act regulates all assisted reproductive technology practices in Western Australia (WA). The HRT Act:

  • helps promote the safe and beneficial treatment of those who require access to reproductive technology in order to have a child.
  • ensures people accessing reproductive technology have adequate counseling and objective information to guide their decision-making.
  • ensures that the wider community is kept informed and involved, as the policies relating to the regulation of these technologies continue to evolve.

The HRT Act is administered by the Chief Executive Officer, Department of Health, subject to the Minister for Health. The HRT Act received Royal Assent on 8 October 1991 and came into full operation on 8 April 1993.

 

WA Voluntary Register for donors, offspring and their families – The Voluntary Register provides a service for donor offspring who wish to find out about their genetic origins and donors who want to know if a child has been born as a result of their donations. The Director General of the Department of Health established the Voluntary Register for people in Western Australia.

Joining this Register is .  Identifying information about a person is only entered on the register if the person completes a properly signed and witnessed registration form.

Donors are encouraged to place their names on this Voluntary Register to facilitate offspring obtaining information about their origins.

Sharing information from the WA Register:

  • Once a ‘match’ is made, relevant non-identifying information is given to the registrant.
  • Identifying information about a person will only be released from the Register with the written consent of that person.
  • Registrants may also state their wishes about contact when joining the Register. If they do not want to be contacted by another party, they can make this known in writing.
  • A person’s name is only entered on the Voluntary Register when that person completes a registration form. Identifying information is only exchanged with the written permission of the person to whom the information relates.
  • Services are conducted in a sensitive and discreet manner. The personal wishes and the privacy of each person are respected. Feedback from donor parties who have sought information from the Register is always welcome.

WA Contact details: Department of Health, 189 Royal St East Perth WA 6004 Ph: (08) 9222 4387 Email: rtc@health.wa.gov.au

 

ACT:

ART legislation – none

Surrogacy – The Parentage Act 2004

Research – The Human Cloning and Embryo Research Act 2004

Donor Treatment procedures and Parentage – Parentage Act 2004

 

NT:

ART legislation – no legislation but guided by SA’s

Surrogacy – no legislation

Research – no territory legislation but guided by SA’s

Donor Treatment procedures and Parentage – Status of Children Act

 

QLD:

ART legislation – no legislation

Surrogacy – Surrogacy Act 2010

Research – Research Involving Human Embryos and Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction Act 2003.

Donor Treatment procedures and Parentage – Status of Children Act 1978

 

TAS:

ART legislation – no legislation

Surrogacy – Surrogacy Act 2012

Research – Human Cloning for Reproduction and Other Prohibited Practices Act 2003. Human Embryonic Research Regulation Act 2003

Donor Treatment procedures and Parentage – Status of Children Act 1978

 

 

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