An Overview of Assisted Reproductive Technology (Art) in Australia and New Zealand
Texas International Law Journal, Vol. 35, No. 1, pp. 1-19, 1999
Posted: 21 Jan 2000
This paper describes the legislation and the non-legislative controls (such as guidelines published by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council), that are relevant to assisted reproductive technology (ART) in Australia and New Zealand. It compares three regulatory "models." The first, in the state of Victoria, is a "criminal" model. Victoria was the first place in the world to enact specific legislation on ART: the Infertility (Medical Procedures) Act 1984 (Vic). This Act created specific offences in relation to in vitro fertilisation and embryo research, punishable by fines and/or imprisonment. The current Victorian legislation, the Infertility Treatment Act 1995 (Vic) provides for licences as well as creating offences, but it contains even more criminal offences than the 1984 Act, so it continues the criminal model. The second approach to regulation is a "licensing" model. This has been adopted in South Australia and Western Australia, where licensing bodies are set up to oversee procedures and research. The jurisdictions that have not enacted legislation adopt the third approach: a "guidelines model." They rely on "voluntary" guidelines, accreditation conditions, and other incidentally relevant legislative and common law principles. The paper describes and contrasts the three models and their operation in practice.
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