COVID-19 – Advice to applicants
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, from 24 March 2020 until further notice:
- all applications to the Patient Review Panel must be made via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- all inquiries should be made via email: email@example.com
- hearings will continue and will be held via videoconference
- applicants will be advised of the process for videoconference hearings once a date for the hearing of their application has been fixed
- applicants should provide copies of their applications to their assisted reproductive treatment (ART) clinics
- if applicants have any concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on their current or future treatment, please contact your ART clinic.
The Panel is established under section 82 of the ART Act and is independent of the Department of Health and Human Services (the Department) and assisted reproductive treatment (ART) providers. The role of the Panel is to consider applications relating to:
- surrogacy arrangements where treatment is to occur in Victoria (ss39-45)
- presumptions against treatment due to the results of a criminal record check or a child protection order check (s14)
- posthumous use of gametes and embryos (ss46-48)
- where a registered ART provider or doctor reasonably believes that a child that may be born would be at risk of abuse or neglect (s15(1)(c))
- where an applicant does not meet the criteria for treatment (s10(2)(a) and s15(1)(b))
- requests for an extensions of storage period of gametes or embryos or the removal of embryos from storage (ss31-34A)
- the use of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis for the purpose of sex selection (s28(2)(b)).
The ART Act further provides that the Panel may perform any other functions given to it by the Minister for Health (s85(1)(g)).
In carrying out its functions, the Panel ensures that the Guiding Principles of the ART Act (s5) are considered at all times. The Guiding Principles of the ART Act are that:
- the welfare and interests of persons born or to be born as a result of treatment procedures are paramount;
- at no time should the use of treatment procedures be for the purpose of exploiting, in trade or otherwise -
- the reproductive capabilities of men and women; or
- children born as a result of treatment procedures;
- children born as the result of the use of donated gametes have a right to information about their genetic parents;
- the health and wellbeing of persons undergoing treatment procedures must be protected at all times;
- persons seeking to undergo treatment procedures must not be discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation, marital status, race or religion.
The Panel is further guided by any other relevant legislation and the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Ethical guidelines on the use of assisted reproductive technology in clinical practice and research (2007)
Composition of the panel
Members, including the Chairperson and Deputy Chairpersons, are appointed to the Panel by the Governor in Council (s83) for a period of no longer than three years (s86 and s87(A)).
Applications to the Panel are considered by a full division of the Panel consisting of the Chairperson, a Deputy Chairperson and three other members, at least one of whom has expertise in child protection (s85(3).
Applications for an extended storage periods of gametes or embryos or the removal of embryos from storage (s31-34A) may be determined by the Chairperson or a single member determined by the Chairperson (s85(2)(b)), however, in practice applications of this nature are more commonly considered by a full division of the Panel.
The Panel currently consists 14 members, including the Chairperson and two Deputy Chairpersons.
The Panel is not authorised to employ staff so is supported by the following Department of Health and Human Services staff:
Ms Anne Mullins
Mr Nikolous Armstrong
Senior Project Officer
Ms Samantha Redding
Senior Legal Officer