Page URL:

Australian court sends back IVF ruling for sex offender

29 October 2012
Appeared in BioNews 679

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.

The Court of Appeal refused to uphold an earlier decision by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) allowing the couple access to fertility treatment, saying the court had used the wrong legal test when deciding whether to allow the couple to have IVF treatment.

'The correct test that should be applied when determining whether there is a barrier to a person receiving treatment was that the best interests of the child to be born from the treatment was paramount', the Court of Appeal held.

The couple, known as ABY and ABZ, had already undergone one cycle of IVF treatment prior to ABY's imprisonment in 2009. ABY was convicted after having sex with a 16-year-old student while he was a teacher's aide at a special-needs school in 2008. He was sentenced to three years in prison, with two years suspended, and was released in 2010 after serving twelve months.

Under the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act, every person seeking IVF in Victoria must undergo background police checks and convicted sex offenders must have their application reviewed by a panel before it is granted. The Patient Review Panel, established under the Act, must decide whether the person applying for fertility treatment presents any actual or potential risk of abuse or neglect to the putative child.

ABY was originally refused treatment under the review but appealed against the decision to the VCAT, which granted him access to treatment. The VCAT said that ABY posed little threat to minors and so there was no justification in refusing them treatment.

In its appeal to the Court of Appeal, the Patient Review Panel said that that the VCAT had used the wrong legal test to judge whether the couple should be allowed to have fertility treatment. Instead of concentrating upon the best interests of the putative child, the VCAT had looked at ABY's risk of reoffending. The Court of Appeal agreed with the Patient Review Panel, and the case must now be reheard in the VCAT with a different panel of justices.

Victoria is the only state in Australia which requires serious offenders to justify why they should be allowed access to fertility treatment.

Convicted sex offender's IVF ruling overturned by Court of Appeal
Herald Sun |  26 October 2012
Court overturns IVF decision for sex offender
ABC News |  26 October 2012
Court overturns sex offender IVF ruling
Nine News |  26 October 2012
Sex offender IVF ruling overturned
Sky News |  26 October 2012
28 May 2013 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
A court in the state of Victoria, Australia, has allowed a previously convicted sex offender and his partner to have access to IVF treatment...
21 January 2013 - by Nicky Hudson and Lorraine Culley 
When we set out over ten years ago to carry out research about infertility within British South Asian communities, little was known about how involuntary childlessness and its possible resolution with assisted conception was experienced by members of minority ethnic communities in the UK...
11 July 2011 - by Kyrillos Georgiadis 
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....
21 December 2009 - by Dr Vivienne Raper 
The NHS must improve access to IVF, according to a new policy briefing from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN)...
6 July 2009 - by Sarah Pritchard 
The results of a new study into cross-border fertility treatment in Europe indicate that every year, thousands of women from Britain are travelling abroad to access treatment which is unavailable to them at home....
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...
13 October 2008 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
New laws that grant lesbian couples and single women equal access to IVF have been passed by MPs voting in Victoria's Parliament. The Assisted Reproductive Treatment bill was approved by 47 votes to 34, in a three day debate that lasted in the early hours. It will...
to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.