Western Australia’s laws barring same-sex male couples and single men from accessing surrogacy have been found to be “discriminatory” by an independent review.

The WA government commissioned the review in January 2018, with Health Minister Roger Cook calling it “long overdue”.

“The existing Western Australian surrogacy and human reproductive technology laws are outdated, discriminatory, and are currently out of step with several Australian States,” Cook said at the time.

The legislation was reviewed by Associate Professor Sonia Allan, with her report tabled in parliament last week, the ABC reported.

The report called on the WA government to urgently repeal the 25-year-old provisions blocking access to surrogacy and assisted reproductive technologies for gay couples and single men.

“More than 25 years later, assisted reproduction has become common place,” Allan said.

“Between one in four and one in six couples will have some sort of fertility issue, and the regulatory system needs to respond and evolve in relation to those changes.

“The report makes recommendations about how we can streamline the regulatory system in a manner that works for people in the 21st century.

“Society has changed and we are much more accepting of different relationship types and also of the technology itself.”

Allan’s report found that the laws were driving West Australians interstate or overseas.

There is currently a bill being debated in WA parliament which would see the provisions blocking male same-sex couples and single men from accessing surrogacy and assisted reproductive technologies repealed.

The bill is being put to a rare conscience vote in the upper house, but Allan says that these amendments would not be enough and that the outdated laws should be subject to a complete rewrite.

“It really is time for an overhaul for what currently exists. You don’t want this to be something that waits too long for action.”

Responding to the report, Cook said that the review “highlights the significant impact, positive and negative, that these practices can have on the individuals involved.”

“While there is an undeniable need to update WA’s regulation around these practices, it is imperative that any changes we adopt are workable, serve the best interests of all involved and give precedence to the welfare of individuals born as a result of such practices,” Cook said.

“We will give careful consideration to the review’s recommendations.”

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