MS PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (17:24:13) — My adjournment matter today is for the Minister for Health, and the action I seek is a review of the requirements under the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 2008. Under this act all patients that are accessing assisted reproductive programs, or IVF, are required to undertake a Victorian criminal police record check prior. They are also required to fill in police form 820B, ‘Consent to check and release national police record’. They then have to fill in another form applying for a child protection order check, and if they are from overseas, they have to then go back to their native country and apply for a police check in that country.
Now, as many of us are well aware, the process of IVF is quite a roller-coaster for many people, and many people do not have a lot of time. This process takes up considerable time that many couples seeking IVF just do not have the luxury of. Of course no-one requires a police check to conceive naturally, so this application process really is discriminatory. It implies that somehow people seeking IVF are criminals or cannot be trusted. I certainly think this is very misguided.
I could not find any reasoning for this requirement when this was raised by a constituent. I did find that the Victorian Law Reform Commission back in 2007 said that we certainly do not want any violent sex offenders from accessing IVF, and I fully agree. We could certainly work out a way that people on the sex offender list did not qualify for IVF. But to say that anyone seeking IVF must undertake a police check I think is really based on prejudice. I think it is clearly misguided, and there is no basis in evidence for this. There are the normal preconditions: financial stability, functional relationships. People who are seeking IVF do so because they very, very, very much want a child, and this is different quite often from people who conceive naturally. Melbourne IVF and many others do not support these requirements. So the action I seek from the minister is: could she review this policy position and see if we can work out a fairer framework for those couples that are actively seeking to bring a child into their family?