Lesbian couple left heartbroken by ‘cruel’ IVF law

lissa koehler facebook ivf law embryo sperm donor same-sex parents
Image: Lissa Koehler/Facebook

A same-sex couple in Victoria, Lissa and Kariah Koehler, have called for a “cruel and heartbreaking” IVF law in their state to be changed.

The couple are mums to a three-year-old girl, and say they had “hoped and dreamed” to give her a sibling when the time was right.

For the last five years, Lissa kept five of her embryos in storage. However two weeks ago, the donor that provided sperm for all of them withdrew consent.

“What this means is that the five embryos that we’ve stored would need to be discarded and could not be used,” Lissa explained in a heartbreaking Facebook post.

Victoria, unlike other states, has laws explicitly allowing sperm donors to withdraw consent, even after the creation of an embryo.

“My heart sunk into my chest and all I wanted to do was to get off the phone so I could burst into tears,” she said.

“Anyone who has been through IVF would understand the process. All the tests, medication, time, emotions and the list goes on.”

Speaking to ABC News, Lissa explained “starting all over” five years older will impact her ability to conceive.

“For me, putting my body through that is a really, really scary and daunting thought,” she said.

Couple say Victoria law is cruel and heartbreaking’

Lissa explained she wants to make others in Victoria aware about the “potential heartache” they’re exposed to.

“I simply want the law to change,” she said.

“It’s outdated and barbaric to deny families the opportunity to create siblings or life, when a decision was made by him to be a part of the program.

“I understand withdrawing. But when an embryo has been created already, to dispose of it like it’s nothing is simply cruel and heartbreaking.

“If we decide to try again in Victoria we are exposing ourselves to the potential same situation.”

Fertility lawyer Stephen Page told ABC News he agreed the law in Victoria was “cruel and crushing”. He said the state government should change it.

“In the rest of Australia, the withdrawal of consent is really irrelevant once the embryo is created,” he said.

“The people who’ve created the embryo [then] have control over it.”

Page said a government review of Victoria’s fertility laws recommended the state change its legislation.

The review recommends “bringing Victoria into line with interstate practice, where withdrawal of consent by a donor is only permitted until the [donors] have been used to create an embryo”.

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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