Assisted Reproductive Treatment (Posthumous Use of Material and Donor Conception Register) Amendment Bill 2022

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A Donor Conception Register (DCR) has been established in South Australia. Have your say on proposed amendments to the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 1988 to ensure safe access to records and optimal functioning of the register.

What's being decided?

A DCR was established on 7 November 2021, following an amendment to the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 1988 (The ART Act).

Further amendments to the ART Act are now proposed to provide safe and respectful access to the DCR and ensure its effective and optimal functioning. These changes are contained within the draft Amendment Bill.

The Amendment Bill has been developed with extensive engagement and consultation with the donor conception community and stakeholders across Australia. The Bill addresses the following key areas:

  1. Providing all donor-conceived people over 18 years with the right to access identifying information about a genetic parent (donor) with retrospective effect, and the ability to seek information about donor-conceived siblings.
  2. Providing donors with the ability to seek information about people born as a result of their donations.
  3. Ensuring that genetic relatives can share important medical and genetic information.
  4. Options for inclusion of donor information on birth certificates.
  5. Ensuring the effective operation of the DCR.

In addition, the Bill also proposes to seek amendment to section 9(1)(c)(iv) of the Act to allow for the use of posthumous sperm or ova by a partner. The Act in it’s current form only allows for the posthumous use of sperm and the inclusion of ova will make the Act equitable for all people whose partner has died. This change will bring South Australia more in line with both the Victorian and New South Wales provisions in their legislation.

Revisions to the original Bill and key policy positions are detailed on the Fact Sheet - Changes to the 2021 Bill.

Background

The DCR is an electronic register that stores all available and verifiable donor conception records and information. The Amendment Bill is proposed to allow access to the register for people who seek information about a genetic parent (donor), donor-conceived siblings, or a person born as a result of donor conception.

Previous consultation on a draft Amendment Bill in 2021 showed there is overwhelming support for donor-conceived people to access identifying information about their genetic relatives. There was also recognition that knowledge of family heritage is essential to concepts of identity and belonging, to allow people to access important medical and genetic information, and to reduce risks of forming consanguineous relationships.

The consultation identified matters which needed further consideration such as ensuring respectful and ethical access to the register; the disclosure of information; validation of records; the level of support to be provided to individuals and whether an alternative contact mechanism needed to be in place rather than a statement of wishes.

Subsequent to the 2021 consultation, Prof Sonia Allan, who led the 2017 Review into the ART Act, undertook further targeted engagement with stakeholders from across Australia with experience of different DCR systems to inform the development of proposed access principles, a support service model and an Amendment Bill which is the subject of this YourSAy engagement.

Get involved

Feedback is sought on the Assisted Reproductive Treatment (Posthumous Use of Material and Donor Conception Register) Amendment Bill 2022.

We invite you to read the Amendment Bill, key policy positions and other supporting documents and have your say by:

What are the next steps?

Once finalised, the Bill will be introduced to Parliament as soon as practicable. We will publish a summary report with the feedback received during the engagement and how this has contributed to changes to the Bill.

A Donor Conception Register (DCR) has been established in South Australia. Have your say on proposed amendments to the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 1988 to ensure safe access to records and optimal functioning of the register.

What's being decided?

A DCR was established on 7 November 2021, following an amendment to the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 1988 (The ART Act).

Further amendments to the ART Act are now proposed to provide safe and respectful access to the DCR and ensure its effective and optimal functioning. These changes are contained within the draft Amendment Bill.

The Amendment Bill has been developed with extensive engagement and consultation with the donor conception community and stakeholders across Australia. The Bill addresses the following key areas:

  1. Providing all donor-conceived people over 18 years with the right to access identifying information about a genetic parent (donor) with retrospective effect, and the ability to seek information about donor-conceived siblings.
  2. Providing donors with the ability to seek information about people born as a result of their donations.
  3. Ensuring that genetic relatives can share important medical and genetic information.
  4. Options for inclusion of donor information on birth certificates.
  5. Ensuring the effective operation of the DCR.

In addition, the Bill also proposes to seek amendment to section 9(1)(c)(iv) of the Act to allow for the use of posthumous sperm or ova by a partner. The Act in it’s current form only allows for the posthumous use of sperm and the inclusion of ova will make the Act equitable for all people whose partner has died. This change will bring South Australia more in line with both the Victorian and New South Wales provisions in their legislation.

Revisions to the original Bill and key policy positions are detailed on the Fact Sheet - Changes to the 2021 Bill.

Background

The DCR is an electronic register that stores all available and verifiable donor conception records and information. The Amendment Bill is proposed to allow access to the register for people who seek information about a genetic parent (donor), donor-conceived siblings, or a person born as a result of donor conception.

Previous consultation on a draft Amendment Bill in 2021 showed there is overwhelming support for donor-conceived people to access identifying information about their genetic relatives. There was also recognition that knowledge of family heritage is essential to concepts of identity and belonging, to allow people to access important medical and genetic information, and to reduce risks of forming consanguineous relationships.

The consultation identified matters which needed further consideration such as ensuring respectful and ethical access to the register; the disclosure of information; validation of records; the level of support to be provided to individuals and whether an alternative contact mechanism needed to be in place rather than a statement of wishes.

Subsequent to the 2021 consultation, Prof Sonia Allan, who led the 2017 Review into the ART Act, undertook further targeted engagement with stakeholders from across Australia with experience of different DCR systems to inform the development of proposed access principles, a support service model and an Amendment Bill which is the subject of this YourSAy engagement.

Get involved

Feedback is sought on the Assisted Reproductive Treatment (Posthumous Use of Material and Donor Conception Register) Amendment Bill 2022.

We invite you to read the Amendment Bill, key policy positions and other supporting documents and have your say by:

What are the next steps?

Once finalised, the Bill will be introduced to Parliament as soon as practicable. We will publish a summary report with the feedback received during the engagement and how this has contributed to changes to the Bill.

What do you think about the proposed Assisted Reproductive Treatment (Posthumous Use of Material and Donor Conception Register) Amendment Bill?

Please feel free to use this section to send us a question about the project and we will provide an answer as soon as possible.

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Page last updated: 24 Nov 2022, 03:06 PM