Legislation and guideline overview

A number of laws, guidelines and regulations covering assisted reproductive treatment (ART) procedures, research and parentage apply throughout the different states and territories of Australia.

ART legislation around Australia

There is currently no Commonwealth legislation that directly regulates ART in Australia. However, the  Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), the Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction Act 2002 (Cth) and the Research Involving Human Embryos Act 2002 (Cth) intersect with aspects of Victorian law.

Specific legislation governs particular aspects of ART, at a Commonwealth and state level.
More information about Victoria's current ART regulation, including its historical development, is also available.

National guidelines for ART

The Ethical guidelines on the use of assisted reproductive technology in clinical practice and research 2007 underpin the regulation of ART practice within Australia. The guidelines were developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Accreditation of ART clinics by the Reproductive Technology Accreditation Committee (RTAC) is required for ART clinical practice nationally. Accreditation from RTAC requires ART clinics to comply with ART laws and the above guidelines. RTAC was established by the Fertility Society of Australia.

Guidelines for the management of the donor conception registers (Victoria)

Guidelines have been issued under section 100A(1) of the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 2008 by the Secretary to the Department of Health and Human Services. The guidelines relate to the performance of functions and the exercise of powers of VARTA in managing the donor conception registers (Central Register and Voluntary Register), and in undertaking enquiries to assist linking parties (including requesting information and records and conducting searches).

More particularly, the guidelines cover the following matters:

  • Part 1-requests for additional information in order to identify a pre-1998 donor
  • Part 2-requests for records relating to pre-1988 donor treatment procedures
  • Part 3-request to pre-1998 donor, or blood relative of a pre-1998 donor, to consent to undergo genetic testing
  • Part 4-searching under the Act
  • Part 5-establishing a link
  • Part 6-identifying and non-identifying information

Guidelines for VARTA in managing the donor conception registers

Regulatory and administrative bodies