Surrogacy laws back on the agenda for WA Health Minister


Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson has appointed a panel of experts to assist with the development of new legislation for assisted reproductive technology (ART) and surrogacy.

Chaired by Professor Roger Hart, an internationally recognised expert in the field of infertility treatment, the panel will advise Government on new reproductive technologies and surrogacy legislation.

Sanderson says the the new legislation will reflect society’s views and technological advancements in human reproductive technology, to enable more Western Australians to start or expand their family.

The panel’s appointment follows Dr Sonia Allan’s 2019 Review of the Western Australian Human Reproductive Technology Act 1991 and the Surrogacy Act 2008.

In response to the Allan Review, the Government committed to introducing contemporary laws to make ART and surrogacy accessible to more Western Australians.

This includes expanding the eligibility criteria to provide same-sex couples and single people with the opportunity to conceive a child through ART.

The government says it’s plan is that equity of access will be provided for altruistic surrogacy including consideration of women facing impending infertility, single men, people in same-sex relationships, transgender people and intersex people. A ban on commercial surrogacy will remain.

Also under the new legislation, a streamlined process will be developed for surrogacy approval that is more consumer friendly, and contact between donor-conceived people and their biological donor will be supported, if this is desired and where both people consent.

The panel will undertake consultation with key stakeholders.

Professor Hart will be joined by seven other experts with specialties across health, law, ethics and research.

Sanderson said the government recognised that many people were waiting for government reform in this area.

“We know that the quest to begin a family can be fraught with personal heartache and, for many, these reforms can’t come fast enough.

“I welcome our expert panel members and look forward to working with them to deliver contemporary legislation that is safe and balances the needs of people trying to conceive using reproductive technology, the intended parents seeking surrogacy and, of course, the child.

“We are committed to supporting more Western Australians to start or expand their family with reproductive technology laws that are inclusive and safe.

“I want to assure people our goal is to see this new legislation introduced to Parliament during this term of Government.” Sanderson said.

The McGowan government previously attempted to reform the laws back in 2019 but debate was stymied when Liberal MP Nick Goiran delivered a filibuster speech.

At the time the government was criticised for putting forward the legislation, before tabling the Allan Review. After the proposed legislation was sent to a committee for review, the government did not revisit the proposed laws during the remainder of their term of government.

Since being returned in 2021, the government has not rushed to revisit the topic, and the appointment of the new panel is the first development in relation to updating the laws.

Graeme Watson

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