Assisted Reproductive Technology & Adoption

The development of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) since the 1980s coincided with significant shifts in the make-up of Australian families. By the early 2000s, it had become evident that regulation of ART had not kept pace with these profound social changes. 

In 2002, the Attorney-General asked the Commission to look at laws governing access to assisted reproductive technology (ART), how the law should recognise parents, and how surrogacy should be regulated. 

From its consultation paper, published in 2003, the Commission received 255 initial submissions. In 2004, we also published three occasional papers by experts on comparative legislative approaches, outcomes for children born through ART in diverse families, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In 2005, we made interim recommendations in three position papers on access to reproductive technologies, surrogacy and recognition of parents. 

To complete its report, the Commission drew from more than 1000 written submissions from a broad range of groups and individuals, conducted numerous roundtable consultations and other events, and recieved assitance from a specialist advisory committee.

The final report, tabled in Parliament on 7 June 2007, made 130 recommendations for a more inclusive approach to the regulation of assisted reproductive technology and adoption that would be guided by the principle of the best interest of the child.

The relevant publications can be downloaded from the links below.

Implementation

In 2008, the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act (ART Act) was passed, implementing most of the Commission’s recommendations. 

In 2012, the Victorian Parliament Law Reform Committee held an inquiry into access to information by donor-conceived individuals. In response, the government introduced the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Further Amendment Act 2014. These amendments encouraged donors to consent, but do not allow donor-conceived individuals access to identifying information without the donor’s consent. This response is consistent with the Commission’s recommendation on the issue in its final report.

In October 2015 the government introduced the Adoption Amendment (Adoption by Same-Sex Couples) Bill 2015  to enable same-sex couples to adopt in Victoria, as recommended by the VLRC in the ART report. The Adoption Amendment (Adoption by Same-Sex Couples) Act came into effect on 1 September 2016.

Timeline

Current: Table in parliament

Full timeline:

Reference
Consultation
Submissions
Final report
Tabled in parliament
View full timeline

Project Publications

Assisted Reproductive Technology and Adoption: Final Report

The Commission's final report on assisted reproductive technology and adoption was launched in June 2007, containing 132 recommendations to reform...

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Assisted Reproductive Technology and Adoption: Recommendations

The Commission's final report into Assisted Reproductive Technology and Adoption (June 2007) made 132 recommendations, set out below. Eligibility for...

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Assisted Reproductive Technology and Adoption: Submissions Snapshot

The Commission received 234 submissions responding to its Assisted Reproductive Technology & Adoption: Consultation Paper, published in January...

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Assisted Reproductive Technology and Adoption: Terms of Reference

In 2002, the Attorney-General set the terms of reference for the Commission's inquiry into Assisted Reproductive Technologies and Adoption.  1. The...

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