- Who has to have counselling in WA?
- What information is available on the Reproductive Technology Register?
- What is the Voluntary Register?
- Is donation anonymous or known?
- Is the use of Known Donors permitted in WA?
- When does the cooling off period for psycho-social preparation/counselling in cases of known donation commence?
- How long is the cooling off period for psycho-social preparation/counselling in cases of known donation?
- Can single women or women in same sex relationships access Donor Insemination?
- Can single women or women in same sex relationships access IVF?
- Is there a limit to the number of pregnancies for each donor?
- Donor Rights and Responsibilities
- Are donor offspring allowed to access to identifying information about their Donor?
- Can I access identifying information about the donor on behalf of my child who is under 16?
- Is Egg Donation permitted in WA?
- Is the Exporting and Importing of Sperm permitted in WA?
- How long can I store my Embryos?
- What happens if I don’t apply for an extension?
- Who is responsible for applying for an extension to storage after embryos have been donated?
- When I have finished my treatment and have embryos left over that I no longer need what are my options?
- Semen (Sperm) Storage
- Can sperm be used after the death of the sperm provider?
- What is Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD)?
- Is Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) available in WA?
- Is surrogacy allowed in WA?
In WA consumers undergoing IVF are entitled to one counselling session per treatment cycle and one session when deciding to end treatment, with an Approved Counsellor.
In cases of known donation, counselling is required for all participants with an Approved Counsellor. (See Use of Known Donors below).
Within the provisions of the RTAC Code of Practice (which WA clinics must comply with) "counselling by specialist infertility counsellors is mandatory for people donating or using stored gametes or embryos".
Where disclosure/sharing of identifying information about donation is being considered counselling approved by the Commissioner of Health will be required.
The WA Department of Health keeps a register of all ART treatments carried out in Western Australia known as the Reproductive Technology Register. Access to this information is in keeping with the Human Reproductive Technology Act's requirements and will depend on what information is sought and who by. For further information concerning donor related information please refer to Donor Rights and Responsibilities.
The Voluntary Register is a register, which maintains a record of the wishes about information sharing for people involved in the donation and receipt of human reproductive material (such a sperm, eggs and embryos). Further information is available on the web site of the Voluntary Register.
In WA both anonymous and known donation are permitted for sperm, eggs and embryos. Even though the Human Reproductive Technology Act 1991 (the Act) does not allow for any access, by those born of donation, to identifying information about the donor without the donor's consent with recent amendments made to the Act, no donor will be accepted without consenting to this. If a recipient or mature donor offspring approaches the clinic or the Reproductive Technology Register seeking identifying information about past donors there is scope for donors who donated previously to give (or refuse) their consent. Some time in the future it is possible that legislation may be further amended to make it a retrospective right for all donor offspring to access identifying information about the donor.
Yes using known donors is permitted. However, before treatment is carried out, the donor and recipients and their respective partners (if any) must attend counselling with an Approved Counsellor and there is a 6-month cooling off period required after the initial counselling session.
When does the cooling off period for psycho-social preparation/counselling in cases of known donation commence?
The cooling off period is to commence after there has been counselling of both the recipients and the donors jointly and separately including their respective spouses/partners. The time of commencement of the cooling off period is the initial counselling session between the donor and the recipients.
How long is the cooling off period for psycho-social preparation/counselling in cases of known donation?
The Directions under the Human Reproductive Technology Act 1991 state that a cooling off period for psycho-social preparation/counseling must follow the completion of the initial counselling session in cases of known donation. The cooling off period for both egg and embryo donation is three (3) months followed by the quarantine period of 180 days. Therefore recipients of donor eggs or embryos are required to wait nine (9) months before proceeding with treatment using the donated eggs or embryos.The cooling off period for sperm donation is six (6) months. This period generally coincides with the 180 days quarantine period required for donated sperm. In cases where the donor sperm has already been quarantined for six (6) months, the cooling off period is reduced to 3 months. Generally recipients of donor sperm are required to wait six (6) months before proceeding with treatment. (See NOTICES on Information for Clinics page).
Single women, lesbian couples and couples with male factor infertility issues can use donor sperm and access artificial insemination to attempt to achieve a pregnancy, under the direction of a licensee.
If you are a fertile single woman, or a fertile woman in a same sex or heterosexual relationship, you are not eligible to access in vitro fertilisation procedures. IVF is accessible in cases where a woman or a couple is unable to conceive due to medical reasons or where a couple or a woman’s child is likely to be affected by a genetic abnormality or a disease.
The number of pregnancies to one donor is limited to a maximum of 5 families under the HRT Act 1991 because of concerns mainly about psychosocial implications. Click here for further information.
The donor of sperm, eggs or embryos may place conditions on any donation and is free to vary or withdraw consent at any time until donated material has been used. After the donation has been used the donor has no rights or responsibilities in relation to their donation or any child born as a result of their donation.
All donors should consider the possible need of donor offspring to have information about their biological heritage. If donations took place prior to the amendment of the HRT Act (2004) donors may wish to consider registering with the Voluntary Register.
As potential donors undergo counselling as part of preparing to donate, donors who donate after the amendments will be aware of the rights of the offspring (at age 16) to access identifying information about the donor.
All donors have a right to access non-identifying information on the outcomes of their donations by contacting the clinics or RT Register.
This will depend on when the donation was made, the nature of the legislation at the time and whether the donor has consented. For further information about your own situation contact the Voluntary Register.
Parents who have used donated human reproductive material to form their families may consent on behalf of their minor children for sharing of identifying information about the donor and recipients where both parties request this. This is to follow counselling (approved by the Commissioner of Health on advice from the RTC) to address, in particular, what may be in the best interests of the child.
Egg donation is permitted in WA in certain circumstances. For further information, click here for Q&A Booklet about the donation of human reproductive material.
Following proclamation of recent amendments, the maximum period of allowed storage of an embryo will now be 10 years (up from 3 years). This may be extended by the Council where there are 'special reasons for doing so in a particular care' but the amendments make clear now that the Council may only approve an extension on the written application of an eligible person or persons, usually the couple for whom the embryo was created. Clinics will no longer be able to apply for extension of the storage limit for participants, therefore Form 9s will be discontinued.
It remains illegal for a licensee to store an embryo beyond its permitted storage period and a licensee may allow an embryo to succumb without being subject to liability if the permitted storage period has ended and no application for extension is made. This is as long as they have taken reasonable steps three months before the end of the storage period to notify each person for whom an embryo is being stored that the storage period is coming to an end.
Council is unable to approve applications to extend storage after expiry of the approved storage limit. Participants must therefore be sure to apply within the permitted storage period.
Where embryos have been donated for treatment in another couple, the donating couple remain responsible for applying for any extension to the permitted storage period, unless a recipient couple have been identified and signed the appropriate consent forms to take over this responsibility.
Where embryos have been declared to be excess ART embryos and donated for a use that requires licensing by the NHMRC Licensing Committee, Licensees are eligible to apply for extensions of permitted storage.
When I have finished my treatment and have embryos left over that I no longer need what are my options?
- You may give consent to have the embryos removed from storage and allowed to die.
- You may give consent for them to be donated for the use of infertility treatment of others. Refer to Q&A Booklet about the donation of human reproductive material.
- You may give consent for the embryos to be donated for research, staff training, quality assurance and perhaps eventually, stem cell therapies. The National Health and Medical Research Council's Embryo Research Licensing Committee, under a nationally consistent legislative scheme, must license these uses.
Consent for these uses is to be a two stage process. First the embryos are to be declared by the participants to be 'excess' to their treatment needs and then consent explicit to the particular licensed use will be required.
Some men may require the facility for storing sperm due to medical reasons or other personal reasons. There are five sperm banks in WA. Click here for further information.
Where the sperm provider is known to be dead the sperm cannot be used whether donated anonymously or for use by the wife (partner). This is the case even if the sperm provider has given explicit consent prior to their death. The reasons are related to concerns for the interests of children being conceived after the death of the father.
Preimplantation genetic testing of embryos may be carried out for people who are eligible to undergo IVF in WA. This includes people who are unable to conceive a child due to medical reasons (infertile) or whose children may be affected by a genetic abnormality or disease. Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis and Screening (PGD and PGS) may be sought where there is a significant risk of a serious genetic abnormality or disease being present in the embryo.Several clinics in WA offer these services: currently Concept Fertility Centre, Hollywood Fertility Centre, Fertility Specialists of Western Australia and PIVET Medical Centre offer services for PGD and PGS. Council approval is required on a case by case basis before a clinic can undertake the testing of embryos. Sex selection, other than to avoid transmission of a serious sex-linked condition, is not permitted in WA.
Laws allowing surrogacy in Western Australia were passed in December 2008. Click here for more information.