The Assisted Reproductive Technology Act 2007 (ART Act), which regulates many of the ethical and social aspects of assisted reproductive technology, commenced in 2010. The objects of the ART Act are:
- to prevent the commercialisation of human reproduction, and
- to protect the interests of the following persons:
- a person born as a result of ART treatment;
- person providing a gamete for use in ART treatment or for research in connection with ART treatment;
- a woman undergoing ART treatment
The ART Act aims to achieve these objectives by requiring ART providers to be registered with the NSW Ministry of Health and by setting core standards for the provision of ART treatment. For example the terms of the ART Act:
- make it clear that gametes can only be used in a manner consistent with the gamete provider's consent, so individuals retain control over the use of their own genetic material;
- prohibit anonymous donation of gametes;
- require ART providers to place information about donors on a Central Register which children born as a result of ART treatment can access once they turn 18 years of age;
- establish the Central Register to operate prospectively, from the commencement of the ART Act in January 2010, and provide a Voluntary Register for offspring born prior to the commencement of the ART Act.
- require ART providers to keep ART records for 50 years, and 75 years for pre-2010 records, and make destruction and falsification of ART records an offence.
Transitional arrangements apply to women who had already conceived a child using donated gametes prior to the commencement of the ART Act, or had embryos in storage that were created prior to the commencement of the ART Act using donated gametes, to enable them to complete their families without the full effect of the ART Act applying.
The Central Register
The ART Act and Regulation established the Central Register to contain information about donors and children born as a result of ART treatment using donated gametes (sperm and ova). Individuals conceived using donated gametes can, once they turn 18 years of age, access information on the Central Register. Parents of individuals conceived using donated gametes and donors can also access certain information on the Central Register.
Further information on the Central Register is available.
The NSW Ministry of Health strongly recommends those considering applying for information or registering their own details should speak with a counsellor first.
The Surrogacy Act 2010 provides a framework for the Supreme Court to grant orders that transfer the full legal parentage of children from their birth parent/s to the intended parent/s under a surrogacy arrangement. The legislation sets out the requirements for the reporting of children born using a surrogate including the making of parentage orders.
Intended parents must now register information about themselves, their child and the surrogate, as well as any person who donated eggs or sperm or embryos, with the Central Register before the NSW Supreme Court will make a parentage order.
More information on Surrogacy is available.