Delays to IVF access in Victoria have been played down by advocacy groups and the Department of Human Services following  reports the Government does not have the resources to implement mandatory police checks, as required by Assisted Reproductive Technology laws.

According to a Herald Sun report, Melbourne IVF director Dr John McBain said the Government had stalled on the proposed start date of July 1 this year because they are unable to handle hundreds of expected record checks.

Last November, laws were passed to allow lesbians and single women access to IVF.

One of the provisions of the legislation requires people applying for IVF to undergo a police check and child protection order check. If an individual or couple fails the check, they must apply to the Patient Review Panel to in order to proceed with treatment.

The DHS is now sticking to the ART Act’s proclamation date of January 1, 2010.

A DHS spokesman denied to the Star that July 1 had been set as the official date all changes would be in place.

I don’t know where that date came from but we’ll do everything we can to get procedures in operation before the proclamation date of January 1, he said.

Rainbow Families Council spokeswoman Felicity Marlowe played down the timeframe, saying she would prefer the department ensure its bureaucracy is as smooth as possible for prospective parents.

Rainbow Families Council is naturally disappointed that the introduction of the ART Act has been further delayed but given how long many women, men and families have been waiting for these reforms, taking a few more months to get it right is very important, she told the Star.

Given that accessing clinics to create your family can be both an emotionally and financially draining experience, it is imperative that all relevant services have the appropriate resources and information to provide the best possible service to their clients.

The provision to include police checks was criticised during the passing of the ART legislation. IVF industry body ACCESS Australia refused to support the changes to allow lesbians and single women access to IVF because the body didn’t agree with the police checks.

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