Wong highlights IVF inequity

Wong highlights IVF inequity

Finance Minister Penny Wong’s news that she and partner Sophie Allouache are expecting a child has drawn attention to discriminatory laws regarding access to IVF in South Australia.

Currently in the state, only women who are medically infertile or who carry a risk of an inheritable disease can access donor sperm for insemination.

This means most lesbians using donor sperm must travel interstate, usually NSW, Victoria or the ACT. It is not known where Wong and Allouche had IVF treatment.

The Social Development Committee – a standing committee of the South Australian Parliament – completed an inquiry into same-sex parenting this year. It concluded that IVF laws which precluded lesbian couples from accessing IVF clinics needed to be changed.

Out Labor MLC Ian Hunter said as a result of the committee findings, a new amendment bill has been drawn up and is likely to be presented to parliament in the next 12 months.

“This discriminatory provision in the IVF legislation must be changed,” Hunter said.

“The Social Development Committee’s draft bill may be introduced to do that in the near future by any one of my Committee members.”

Legal recognition of same-sex parents also remains an issue for the state. The same inquiry found that, under South Australian law, if a married woman becomes pregnant through the use of assisted reproductive treatment with donor sperm, her husband is treated as the legal father of the child and his name is placed on the child’s birth certificate.

There is no similar presumption of parentage for same-sex co-parents under state law.

“The partner of a lesbian woman who has become pregnant through the use of donor sperm is not recognised in law as a parent, even though she may be in a committed long-term relationship with her partner, consented to her partner having the procedure and has expressed clear intention to co-parent the child,” the report states.

“South Australian law does not permit the woman’s name to be listed on the child’s birth certificate. On this matter, South Australia lags behind every other Australian jurisdiction.”

This discrimination was found to lead to difficulties for a same-sex co-parent including not easily being able to enrol the child at school or approve school excursions. Nor can they legally give permission for the child to be treated in a medical emergency.

South Australian Greens MLC Tammy Franks told the Star Observer she’d support legislation to change the current laws to allow same-sex couples to access the technology.

“There should be no discrimination of this sort in regards to reproductive technology,” she said.

“Obviously it’s a bit hard for a Greens member to get legislation on these things up, it should come from the Government and I’d support it if it did.”

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5 responses to “Wong highlights IVF inequity”

  1. […] Finance Minister Penny Wong’s announcement that she and partner Sophie Allouache were expecting a child through IVF – and the assumption that they had to travel interstate to receive the treatment – recently drew attention to the discriminatory laws regarding access to IVF for lesbian couples. Read more here. […]

  2. IVF is an unjustifiable expenditure of health dollars that could be better reallocated. removing all public subsidy and making it user pays is the fairest way to deal with this elective procedure. Removing government subsidy also means that the anti gay lobby loses its argument about the government funding alternative families. ie you get a user pays system that can be based on the interests of the prospective child.

  3. The eloquent proposition to live as freely as the next person, is compelling. There are politicians who are brave, and take leadership on Civil Rights.

    “Barack’s got the courage to talk to skeptical audiences; not just friendly ones. That’s why he told a crowd at a rally in Texas that gays and lesbians deserve equality. Now, the crowd got pretty quiet. But Barack said “now, I’m a Christian, and I praise Jesus every Sunday.” And the crowd started cheering. Then he said, “I hear people saying things that I don’t think are very Christian with respect to people who are gay and lesbian.”

    Michelle Obama 2008

  4. I bet she does!

    Wong also supports Marriage Equality now she is having a family.

    I am certianly encouraged by her recent public support of Civil Rights, rather then towing the Labor Party line! Good to see her comming out on many Civil Rights issues.