Police checks for IVF patients scrapped in Victoria

People undergoing IVF in Victoria will no longer be required to pass police and child welfare checks before being approved for treatment.

The changes to legislation are being welcomed by human rights commentators, who described the old laws as ‘weird’ and ‘humiliating’.

They were certainly unique. Victoria was the only jurisdiction in the world that required people wanting IVF and other assisted reproductive technology treatments to undergo checks for sexual or violent crime convictions.

During a 2019 Parliamentary Inquiry, patients said they felt the checks were “unfair, humiliating and a cause of distress”.

They were joined by IVF practitioners who testified that the checks meant IVF patients suffered discrimination not applied to those who were able to conceive naturally.

“Clinics gave us feedback that this was the biggest issue their clients were complaining to them about, the most common concern that was raised,” said Ms Mikakos.

Between 2012 and 2018, 180 criminal record checks of would-be parents were referred to the Patient Review Panel, and treatment was denied to 12 of them.

Health Minister Ms Mikakos said that despite the law change, clinics will still be required to consider the welfare of any child born by IVF before proceeding with treatment.

“They will still be able to refuse treatment if they reasonably believe the child to be born may be at risk of abuse of neglect,” she said.