Assisted reproductive technologies: professional and legal restrictions in Australian clinics. Academic Article uri icon


  • The professional and legal regulation of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) in Australia is a vast maze of intersecting laws and guidelines which place restrictions on the provision of services such as infertility treatment, surrogacy, sex selection for social reasons, donor insemination, pre-implantation diagnosis and human embryo research. This study investigated the application of these restrictions on clinical practice in New South Wales, a relatively unregulated State, and Victoria, a relatively highly regulated State. The results of the survey indicate that the range of ART services in Victorian clinics was far more limited than in New South Wales clinics. The Victorian clinics uniformly restricted access of single and lesbian women and did not offer social sex selection procedures. The New South Wales clinics adopted different polices regarding these services. It was found that restrictive laws governing "social" issues have a significant impact on the availability of ART services and some respondents seemed unclear about the nature of restrictions and laws relevant to their work. It was also found that "reproductive tourism" is prevalent and restrictions were circumnavigated by patients with assistance from clinics. It was concluded that more evidence is required to evaluate regulation in this field of medicine.

publication date

  • January 1, 2005