Wednesday, June 24, 2009

MCV – “IVF Setbacks” by Rachel Cook

Rachel Cook discusses the delays for accessing IVF to same-sex couples – a delay of up to 5 months.


Delays in police checks will mean that same-sex couples requiring IVF treatment could be waiting five months.

Lesbians and single women gained access to IVF last December when the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Bill was passed. However the bill also introduced police checks as part of the screening process for prospective IVF recipients.

The checks are designed to ensure that people seeking fertility treatment are “fit to parent”, having no history of violence or sexual assault.

As reported in the Herald Sun last week, a doctor from Melbourne IVF has voiced his concerns that the government has failed to ensure the infrastructure is in place to cope with high numbers of police checks.

Dr John McBain said, “The bureaucracy isn’t in place in the relevant department to screen the very large numbers of people who will be trying to get police checks.”

Co-convenor of the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, Hayley Conway, said providing increased resources to cope with the swell in police checks should have been done “many many years ago”.

“This demonstrates the lack of seriousness this government has in terms of providing equal access to services for the LGBTI community,” Conway said.

“They will hide behind anything to prevent LGBTI families to access the same services heterosexual families will use. While it may not be malicious, in regards to the police checks, [before the introduction of the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Bill which allowed lesbians to access IVF] heterosexual couples were not subjected to these checks.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Human Services told MCV that the bill was “close” to being proclaimed:

“Part of making sure that the necessary arrangements are in place for the Act to be successfully implemented is that there is work that still needs to be done. Work that will make sure people can access the programs that are covered by the Act is still underway.”

The spokesperson added:

“These measures have been debated for a long time. For ten years this has been in the mix and the important thing is that we have in place the right procedures and the right infrastructure to support the bill. We want get it right.

He also said that the Herald-Sun’s claim that the Act was to be proclaimed July 1 was incorrect:
“The Act will be proclaimed automatically on January 1, 2010, if it is not proclaimed sooner, we did not say it would definitely be proclaimed July 1.”

To access IVF couples also have to pass a Child Protection Order Check. Melbourne IVF states on its website:

‘Melbourne IVF (and all IVF Clinic in Victoria) is currently working with Department of Human Services (DHS) to develop a process for undertaking the Child Protection Order Checks. This process is yet to be finalised.’”

[Link: Original Article]

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