The South Australian Parliament has passed a law allowing equal access to assisted reproductive technology and altruistic surrogacy for same-sex couples.
“[The law] will come into operation in the coming months, and will mean same-sex couples will be able to create loving, nurturing families without having to leave the state to do so,” South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said.
Lee Carnie from the Human Rights Law Centre said the passage of the Statutes Amendment (Surrogacy Eligibility) Bill was 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,” she said.
Ms Carnie said when the new law comes into effect lesbian couples will now have access to assisted reproductive technology in every state of Australia, with only the Northern Territory still requiring those accessing assisted reproductive technology to be “medically infertile”.
The Bill also removes the legal barrier to same-sex couples engaging in altruistic (unpaid) surrogacy.
Ali and Jo, a same-sex couple living in Adelaide, said they had to travel to New South Wales to conceive their children because of the barriers to accessing IVF in their home state.
The discrimination they experienced in South Australia, they said, made what was already a complicated and stressful process even more so.
“Rather than undergo invasive exploratory procedures to assess my fertility levels, we decided to go to NSW to conceive our two beautiful children,” Ali said.
“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.”
Last December, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill apologised to the LGBTIQ community for his state’s historic discriminatory laws, as the state’s parliament passed several pieces of legislation eliminating discrimination against LGBTIQ people.