By: Star Observer, Matthew Wade
A bill allowing equal access to assisted reproductive treatment and unpaid surrogacy for same-sex couples has been passed in the South Australian parliament.
The passage of the bill removes the last legal discrimination against LGBTI people from the statute books of the state.
Previously, only South Australia and the Northern Territory required those accessing assisted reproductive technology to be ‘medically infertile’, a requirement other states didn’t impose.
Lee Carnie from the Human Rights Law Centre said the fact the bill passed was a huge step forward for equality for LGBTI people in South Australia.
“There are many rainbow families already living in South Australia, but this reform will remove barriers to accessing treatment and will ensure couples don’t need to travel interstate to start a family,” she said.
“This reform removes the last stain of discrimination from the statute books of South Australia and mean that lesbian couples will now have access to assisted reproductive technology in every state of Australia.”
Ali and Jo live in Adelaide but had to travel to NSW to conceive their children because of the barriers to accessing IVF in South Australia.
Ali said the discrimination that was in the law made what was already a complicated and stressful process even more complicated and stressful.
“Rather than undergo invasive exploratory procedures to assess my fertility levels, we decided to go to NSW to conceive our two beautiful children,” she 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 the 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.”
The bill also removes the legal barrier to same-sex couples engaging in unpaid surrogacy.
South Australia will become the fifth jurisdiction to allow same-sex couples to have children using altruistic surgery after Tasmania, NSW, Victoria, and the ACT.
Chair of the South Australian Rainbow Advocacy Alliance, Andrew Birtwistle-Smith, said the team welcomed the changes that were passed.
“It is an advance for LGBTI families that is long overdue,” he said.
“We look forward to welcoming new rainbow families to our community.”