Medicine and the Law

Access to assisted reproductive technology: for single, gay, de facto or married women?

Loane Skene, Paul Nisselle



Assisted reproductive technology includes both in vitro fertilisation and artificial insemination with donated sperm. Professor Skene explains why recently awarded access to this technology for single and ‘gay’ women in Victoria may be short-lived; Dr Nisselle counsels doctors to inform, but not sway, the debate-in-progress.

Article Extract

A Federal Court case

A Victorian specialist in assisted reproductive technology (ART), Dr John McBain, recently brought a Federal Court action because he wanted to treat a single woman and this was barred by State legislation – the Infertility Treatment Act 1995 (Vic). Dr McBain argued that the Victorian provision was invalid because the exclusion of single women on the grounds of their marital status was unlawful under Federal legislation – the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cwlth). The box on page 68 explains the issues by comparing and contrasting the two Acts.