Vegas and beyond
The last year has been an extraordinary one for me in terms of presentations about surrogacy, which I have done in addition to my full time work. I am glad to have the support of my partners and colleagues at Harrington Family Lawyers, without whom I would not have been able to do all of this:
- In December last year I presented to Gay Dads Australia- NSW at their surrogacy forum in Sydney.
- In February I presented to Surrogacy Australia at their surrogacy forum in Sydney.
- In March I presented a paper to City Fertility Centre’s national conference.
- In March I appeared on SBS Insight “Baby Business”. I was proud of that show, and not because I got the last say and a round of applause (both of which are true), but because as best as anyone can do, the show gave a variety of experiences and views about the dilemmas involved with surrogacy.
- In May I presented to Fertility Nurses of Australasia at their conference.
- In June I presented to LexisNexis at its 12th annual family law summit in Brisbane.
- In July I gave evidence to the Tasmanian Parliament’s inquiry into its surrogacy bills.
- In August I presented to Life Fertility Centre in Brisbane.
- In September I presented to the Queensland Law Society/Family Law Practitioners Association 26th annual Calabro SV Consulting Family Law Residential, the largest annual conference of family lawyers in the country.
- In September I also presented to about 300 doctors and nurses at the Westmead Foundation Fertility Symposium.
- In October I am a presenter at the American Bar Association conference on international surrogacy in Las Vegas.
- In December I am a speaker at the World Congress on Reproductive Medicine in Melbourne, which came about due to research undertaken by fellow lawyer Alexandra Harland and me about surrogacy rules in each of the States. That research was published in Family Law Review, a Thomson Reuters publication.
One down side of all these presentations (all of which have been unique) is that the workload has slowed my blogging this year to a trickle.
I will be posting about the Vegas and Melbourne conferences on the blog. What concerns me most are attempts by the Hague conference on private international law to impose a treaty about international surrogacy. I applaud proper international regulation of surrogacy. Surrogates and intended parents should not be exploited. My clients who are intended parents want to do no harm. All they want is to have a child- not to hurt anyone else, let the special woman who is prepared to bear their child.
The pain of not being able to have children is an extraordinary burden for many couples. Most of my clients considering surrogacy have considered adoption, but with the red tape involved, part of which is there due to another Hague convention, they see little point being stuck in a very long, painful, costly queue. If the Hague has managed to come up with rules that make the process worse, what confidence can intended parents in the Hague getting it right with surrogacy regulation?