Our wonderful equality team led by Justine put together a submission to the inquiry into universal access to reproductive healthcare.
We consulted with our community to find out the issues that LGBTQ+ people were facing when accessing reproductive healthcare.
A unifying theme in the experiences of our community in accessing mainstream sexual and reproductive healthcare services is a perception that they are designed with the needs of heterosexual and cisgender individuals and traditional family structures in mind. Heteronormative assumptions infuse all aspects of service delivery including advice and treatment, interaction with ancillary staff and the processes of the organisation. Language used in forms and other documents such as fact sheets and marketing material that is not inclusive can be alienating.
While there are specialised LGBTQ+ services for sexual and reproductive healthcare, not everyone is able to access them and people should be confident that their needs will be met within the mainstream system. It is not a matter of seeking special treatment for LGBTQ+ individuals but insisting that a universal healthcare system is responsive to the needs of all those who use it, not just those of the majority. Our submission will focus on reproductive health care, particularly Artificial Reproductive Technology (“ART”) as this is the core of our community’s experience.
Recommendations in the submission -
1. Mandated training on sexual, gender and family diversity for practitioners and frontline staff providing sexual and reproductive healthcare.
2. Legislative change and establishment of guidelines to eliminate barriers to IVF treatment for the LGBTQ+ community including the availability, choice and diversity of donor sperm.
3. Clear guidelines on the eligibility for Medicare rebates for IVF that are based on the inability to conceive through other means rather than relying on practitioner discretion of whether treatment is medically necessary.
4. Co-operation between the Commonwealth, states and territories to work towards consistent legislation and guidelines.
5. Meaningful consultation with the LGBTQ+ community and organisations in developing and implementing any changes in sexual and reproductive healthcare.
You can access the submission here.
Thank you to our wonderful volunteer Justine for leading the work on this submission.