New assisted reproductive technology and surrogacy legislation for WA

The Government is committed to supporting more Western Australians to start a family or expand their family with help from Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) and surrogacy that is safe and ethically sound for all.

In 2019 Associate Professor Sonia Allan completed an independent review (Allan Review) into the existing state laws around ART and surrogacy. A two-part report was published as part of this review. See details of the review and the final report.

A Ministerial Expert Panel (MEP) was convened in May 2022 to advise the Minister for Health to ensure new legislation reflects social trends and medical and scientific advances for the accessible and safe use of ART and surrogacy. Details on the activity of the MEP, including consultation undertaken, can be found below.

The MEP completed their work in December 2022. A final report was prepared with recommendations and provided to the Minister for Health. Please see the MEP’s final report below.

The Government has provided a response to the MEP final report, which is also found below.

The development of new legislation is continuing with the aim of introducing a Bill to Parliament in late 2024.

Ministerial Expert Panel members

Professor Roger Hart – Chairperson
Professor Roger Hart is an internationally recognised expert in the treatment of infertility and research, with a special interest in ART. He is Professor of Reproductive Medicine at the University of Western Australia, Medical Director at Fertility Specialists of Western Australia, National Medical Director of City Fertility, and Head of Reproductive Medicine Service at King Edward Memorial Hospital.

Dr Louise Farrell OAM – Deputy Chair
Dr Louise Farrell OAM is a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, and current Head of Colposcopy Services at King Edward Memorial Hospital. Dr Farrell is a former Chair of the Western Australian Branch of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and previous Clinical Director (Obstetrics and Gynaecology) at St John of God Hospital Subiaco.

Dr Angela Cooney – Member
Dr Angela Cooney is a general practitioner with expertise in reproductive health, women’s health and working with LGBTQI+ clients. Dr Cooney is the former Medical Director of Family Planning WA (now Sexual Health Quarters) and is a current sessional medical practitioner with Sexual Health Quarters.

Dr Ian Hammond AM – Member
Dr Ian Hammond AM is a retired consultant gynaecologic oncologist and former Clinical Professor in the School of Women’s and Infants Health at the University of Western Australia. He is a previous Director of the WA Cancer and Palliative Care Network and has been a Chair and member of various steering committees and expert advisory groups for the National Cervical Screening Program.

Mr Martin Kavanagh – Member
Mr Martin (Marty) Kavanagh is a barrister and solicitor with extensive experience in family law and family violence orders with a particular interest in surrogacy, LGBTQI+ legal issues, State Administrative Tribunal, Guardianship and Administration, Hague Convention (Child Abduction) matters, and international family law (particularly Ireland, USA, England and Wales).

Ms Rachel Oakeley – Member
Ms Rachel Oakeley is a barrister with a special interest in family law, infertility law and surrogacy matters. Her experience in family law includes complex property, parenting, adoption, child protection, child support and international cases. She is a registered arbitrator and nationally accredited mediator chairing family law mediations and providing advocacy services to instructors from family law practices.

Ms Fiona Seaward – Member
Ms Fiona Seaward is the Acting Deputy State Counsel for the State Solicitor’s Office and former Commissioner of the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia.

Hon Dr Sally Talbot MLC – Member
The Hon Dr Sally Talbot MLC is the Member for South West Region. Dr Talbot is the current Chair of the Standing Committee on Legislation. She is a former Chair, Deputy Chair and Member of various Parliamentary Committees including the Select Committee into Public Obstetric Services and the Joint Select Committee on End of Life Choices.

Moratorium on potential breaches during consultation

Moratorium on potential breaches under the Human Reproductive Technology Act 1991 or Surrogacy Act 2008 disclosed by consumers to the Ministerial Expert Panel during the legislative review consultation for new Assisted Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy Legislation

The WA Government is committed to the development of new Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) and Surrogacy Legislation for Western Australia. As part of this process a Ministerial Expert Panel (MEP) will be undertaking targeted consultation with key stakeholders and consumers.

During this consultation potential breaches of the current Human Reproductive Technology Act 1991 or Surrogacy Act 2008 may become apparent. The legislation would ordinarily require an investigation by the Department of Health in circumstances where possible breaches of an Act has occurred.

To enable consumers to freely share their experience with the MEP, the Government has approved a moratorium on information disclosed during this consultation process.

This is to protect consumers and support open communication, which will help the MEP in its role to advise Government regarding the development of the new legislation.

Where information is shared relating to possible safety risks or potentially serious breaches of an Act this moratorium will not apply. As the Regulator, the Department of Health will follow established procedures for investigating matters of concern.

Consumers are still able to make formal complaints regarding ART and surrogacy services via existing channels.

The WA Government hopes that this moratorium will allow all consumers to fully participate in the development of new legislation to best meet the needs of West Australians.

Public discussion paper

As part of the Ministerial Expert Panel’s (MEP) targeted consultation a public discussion paper (PDF 429KB) was drafted that summarises current key issues.

Feedback to the paper was open from July to September 2022. Thank you to those who made feedback. Responses will help the MEP consider policy recommendations for new legislation in Western Australia.

All comments will be treated as public documents, unless a specific request for confidentiality was made. Comments provided may be subject to release under the Freedom of Information Act 1992. Comments provided may also be quoted from in the final MEP report to the Minister for Health.

The MEP reserves the right to remove any content that could be regarded as derogatory or defamatory to an individual or agency.

Donor conception survey

As part of their targeted consultation, the Ministerial Expert Panel (MEP) created a survey to seek feedback from people and communities who have been affected by donor conception.

This survey was open from July to September.

Thank you to those who completed the survey. Responses will help the MEP consider policy recommendations regarding donor conception for new legislation in Western Australia.

Last reviewed: 21-03-2024

Secretariat – Ministerial Expert Panel on ART and Surrogacy

Mail: The Ministerial Expert Panel on ART and Surrogacy
 PO Box 8172
 Perth Business Centre
 Perth WA 6849