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Australian sex-offender seeks access to IVF

11 July 2011

By Kyrillos Georgiadis

Appeared in BioNews 615

An Australian man is seeking to overturn a ruling barring him and his partner from accessing IVF on the grounds of his previous conviction in 2003 for having sex with a 16-year-old student while he was employed as a teacher's aide.

The man, know only as ABY, said he is being denied basic human rights because he is not allowed to access the treatment. He and his wife had started IVF before he was arrested and planned to resume it when he was released from prison. He was jailed for three years with two years suspended.

Under Victorian law, convicted sex-offenders who want IVF must appear before a review panel before treatment is granted. The panel, however, denied the couple access to treatment on the grounds of ABY's previous conviction.

The Victorian state Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act requires all IVF users to undergo police and background checks before they are offered treatment and operates a presumption against treatment for couples where either partner has been convicted of a sexual offence. The law was introduced after the Victorian Law Reform Commission recommended barring people convicted for sexual or violent offences from IVF on the basis that they presented a potential risk.

During the hearing at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, forensic psychiatrist Dr Danny Sullivan said the 33-year-old man had 'age appropriate relationships' throughout his adult life and, in his view, was not a paedophile or someone with an unnatural interest in post-pubescent girls.

Dr Sullivan said it was 'extremely unlikely' ABY would have difficulty discerning the boundary between parent and child and there were 'no deficits that would look like ABY posed a risk to his own children'.

ABY said he was sorry for what he did, but it was wrong to deny him the chance to have children. 'Every person deserves the right to have a family', he said. 'People make mistakes. It's just very trying'.

The couple's solicitor, Bianca Moleta, said the review panel had breached her clients' rights. 'By virtue of the Charter of Human Rights the decision reach by the panel is unlawful', she said. 'As they're a public authority they need to consider human rights and in the decision and they didn't do that'. Moleta says the panel breached his human rights to health as well as the right not to be punished twice.

However, Victorian Opposition health spokesman, Gavin Jennings, has defended the review panel. 'We have question marks about whether you would be a good parent because you have a sexual conviction', he told ABY. The tribunal has also heard that ABY had a history of drug and alcohol dependence.

Herald Sun | 28 June 2011
ABC News | 24 June 2011 | 28 June 2011
Sydney Morning Herald | 28 June 2011


28 May 2013 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza 
A court in the state of Victoria, Australia, has allowed a previously convicted sex offender and his partner to have access to IVF treatment...
29 October 2012 - by Dr Mary Yarwood 
A convicted sex offender and his partner have been denied access to IVF treatment by the Victoria Court of Appeal in Australia, pending a re-hearing by a lower court....
12 March 2012 - by Dr Rosie Gilchrist 
Nine NHS primary care trusts (PCTs) have introduced restrictions to IVF treatment for patients who smoke or are overweight...
05 September 2011 - by Dr Sonia Allan 
An Australian commercial television station recently ran a news story about a donor-conceived woman who has heritable bowel cancer (1). She did not inherit it from her mother. She is denied access to information about her sperm donor because he donated before laws in Victoria enabled information to be released to the donor-conceived. She cannot contact her eight half-siblings, who share that donor, to warn them they may be at risk...

06 June 2011 - by Ben Jones 
A public inquiry has been launched by the UK's Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke after a newspaper's freedom of information request revealed a prisoner was granted permission to provide sperm for use in artificial insemination with his partner while in custody...
18 October 2010 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza 
Two Spanish prisoners have reportedly received IVF treatment while in prison...
12 July 2010 - by Chris Chatterton 
An Australian Supreme Court has allowed a woman to continue with her self-funded IVF treatment, after she was given an 18-month jail term for fraud last November...
19 January 2009 - by Dr Anna Smajdor 
In October 2008, it was reported that a Spanish woman, Elena Beloki, had been granted permission to receive IVF treatment. Beloki is currently serving a 13-year prison sentence for her involvement with the Basque separatist organisation, Eta. Her fertility treatment will be carried out while on bail, and will...

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