Today the South Australian Parliament has passed a law allowing equal access to assisted reproductive technology and unpaid surrogacy for same-sex couples. This removed the last direct legal discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) people from the statute books of the state.
The Human Rights Law Centre’s Lee Carnie welcomed the passage of the Statutes Amendment (Surrogacy Eligibility) Bill as a step forward for equality for LGBTIQ people in South Australia.
“There are many rainbow families already living in South Australia, but this reform will remove barriers to accessing treatment and ensure couples do not need to travel interstate to start their family,” said Carnie.
Currently only South Australia and the Northern Territory require those accessing assisted reproductive treatment to be “medically infertile” whereas other jurisdictions do not impose such a requirement.
“This reform removes the last stain of direct discrimination from the statute books of South Australia and means that lesbian couples will now have access to assisted reproductive technology in every state of Australia,” added Lee Carnie.
Ali and Jo are a same-sex couple living in Adelaide who had to travel to NSW to conceive their children because of the barriers to accessing IVF in South Australia.
“The discrimination in the law makes what is already a complicated and stressful process even more complicated and stressful. Rather than undergo invasive exploratory procedures to assess my fertility levels, we decided to go to NSW to conceive our two beautiful children. We had to save up each time we needed to travel for a consultation or procedure, sometimes delaying treatment because we ran out of money, simply because of these hurdles in the current law. We’re allowed to foster children but not allowed to have our own children in our own state – I hope the parliament finally realises that this just doesn’t make sense,” said Ali.
The Bill also removes the legal barrier to same-sex couples engaging in altruistic (unpaid) surrogacy. South Australia will become the fifth jurisdiction to allow same-sex couples to have children using altruistic surrogacy after Tasmania, NSW, Victoria and the ACT.
“We welcome the changes passed today. It is an advance for LGBTIQ families that is long overdue. We look forward to welcoming new rainbow families to our community,” said Andrew Birtwistle-Smith, Chair of the South Australian Rainbow Advocacy Alliance.