IVF – In Vitro Fertilisation

IVF stands for “In Vitro Fertilisation” and is also known as artificial conception for the purposes of the Family Law Act.

S60H of the Family Law Act is the provision relating to the parentage of children born as a result of artificial conception procedures. Broadly speaking, the section sets out the parent– child relationship between the child and the birth mother as well as that child and if applicable, her husband or de facto partner. Notwithstanding the fact that the de-facto partner or husband of the birth mother is not biologically related to the child, this provision provides for the creation at law, of the parent-child relationship for children are born via an artificial conception procedure.

In essence, the law states that if a child is born to a woman through the use of an artificial conception procedure whilst the woman is married or a de facto partner of another person (the other intended parent); and either the woman and the other intended parent consented to the carrying out of the procedure, and any other person who provided the genetic material used in the procedure also consented to the use of the material in that procedure; or under Commonwealth or state law is defined as a child of the birth mother and the other intended parent, then for the purposes of the family Law act that child if the child of the birth mother and the other intended parent and the donor of the genetic material (if the donor is not the intended parent) is not considered in the parent of the child.

Importantly, the act also notes that the woman who gives birth to a child as a result of an artificial conception procedure (and is recognised under State or Commonwealth law as the mother of the child) for purposes of the family Law act, the birth mother is the mother of the child. Importantly, there is a presumption of consent (on the civil standard of the balance of probabilities) unless this is rebutted.

What is an artificial conception procedure?

An artificial conception procedure is the implementation of an embryo in the body of a woman.