Page 2228 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 3 August 2022

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unable to access counselling, due to limited availability. As I have noted, the government’s view is that counselling and support services should be focused on the wellbeing of the individual rather than the ART process and should be culturally appropriate and inclusive. For these reasons we will encourage ART providers to expand availability of counselling appointments and to promote access to peer support services.

We also heard that there is limited specialist support or counselling services for donor conceived people and their families. We will work with the commonwealth government to explore opportunities to ensure these services are readily available. These services should centre around the rights and needs of donor conceived people both when they are children and as adults.

Unfortunately, we heard that some clinicians and services appear to be uninformed about the fertility needs of LGBTIQ+ people, although this experience varied across different services. We will encourage all ART clinics to undertake LGBTIQ+ cultural competency training, and to use inclusive and gender-neutral language in their practice.

The regulation and oversight of ART clinics and the extent to which ART is regulated varies throughout Australia and there is currently no commonwealth legislation that directly regulates ART.

The ACT also does not have specific legislation that regulates ART. There have been various government inquiries at the federal and jurisdictional levels that have considered introducing regulation for ART and the merits of establishing registers for donor conceived gametes. Following these inquiries, some state governments have progressively introduced legislation to regulate ART.

Based on our research and feedback from stakeholders there is a real need to include a specific regulatory framework for ART in the ACT. This includes the establishment of a central register of donor gametes. I intend to have legislation introduced in 2023, reflecting the critical need identified in the government’s response.

We acknowledge the importance of accessing information and the impact this can have on the sense of identity of donor conceived people. We will explore opportunities to ensure that donor conceived people are appropriately supported to learn about their genetic origins, and access information about siblings and relatives if they choose to.

We value the views of our stakeholders. The development of a regulatory framework will include significant consultation with the community and will have a specific regard to the impacts and needs of donor conceived people, donors and LGBTIQ+ Canberrans.

This response explores how regulation and access to ART services in the ACT can be improved. However, I acknowledge significant further work is required to begin to implement these next steps. Ongoing stakeholder consultation will be a key component to progressing this work.

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