Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Surrogacy conference in Melbourne

The annual surrogacy conference is on again- this time on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 June, in Melbourne, run by Families Through Surrogacy.

I will be going, as I have done every year except in 2015 (when I was speaking at the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers international surrogacy symposium in London).

The event will be as interesting as ever, with both domestic and international speakers. Some of the leading surrogacy figures internationally will be there, including lawyer Andy Vorzimer, fertility Dr Bruce Shapiro and psychologist Dr Kim Bergman.

Circle Surrogacy drinks and information night

On Friday next week, one of the world's oldest and largest surrogacy agencies, Circle Surrogacy, will be holding an evening drinks and surrogacy information night in Sydney.

I will be in attendance.

The event runs from 6.30 to 8.30pm and is free. For more information- register here.

Monday, May 22, 2017

DFAT: there is now a way to get your children out of Cambodia

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has issued a bulletin about the situation in Cambodia:

In November 2014, Cambodian authorities advised the Australian Government that the act of commercial surrogacy, or commissioning commercial surrogacy, was illegal in Cambodia with penalties including imprisonment and fines.
On 24 October 2016, the Cambodian Government issued a ministerial directive which reaffirmed that surrogacy is banned in Cambodia.
However, on 5 May 2017, Cambodian authorities advised the Australian Government of the transitional court arrangements for children born through surrogacy in Cambodia, effective from 28 March 2017. The advice received from the Cambodian authorities noted that a commissioning father must establish paternity through Cambodian court proceedings, supported by a positive DNA test result, and a surrogate mother will need to consent to a transfer of parental power. These transitional arrangements apply to children conceived before 28 March 2017 and are valid for 9 months and 10 days from that date. Commissioning parents should seek independent legal advice on how these arrangements are to be applied.
Commissioning parents should also be aware that they may face delays in obtaining exit permits for children born through surrogacy in Cambodia pending the further development of surrogacy laws and regulations in Cambodia.
Australians are advised not to visit Cambodia for the purpose of engaging in commercial surrogacy arrangements. You should seek independent legal advice regarding these matters. 

If you have undertaken surrogacy in Cambodia, I would strongly  suggest getting independent advice before going through the process proposed by the Cambodian government.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Surrogacy podcast with Rayyin & Partners, Beijing

Last week I had the joy of taking part with a Chinese colleague, Hao Wang in a podcast about surrogacy.  Hao is a partner in RayYin & Partners, a prominent Beijing law firm.  Hao specialises in family law matters (including children and property) including overseas trust planning.  She has spoken and been published widely concerning family law and trust law.

It was quite extraordinary to attend at her office in Beijing and then to take part in a podcast to talk about surrogacy.  Hao introduced me in Chinese.  During the introduction the only words I understood were surrogacy and Stephen Page.  We then participated in a long interview in which I gave an overview about surrogacy and international egg and sperm donation including that available to Chinese citizens, and then we had the wrap up thank you – again in Chinese and again the only words I understood were surrogacy and Stephen Page!  

One of Hao’s interns will have the joyful task of translating my words into Chinese characters, a task which is somewhat difficult given some of the necessarily technical terms that are involved with surrogacy.  It was an honour and a privilege to take part in the podcast.

Lecture at the University of Hong Kong about ART and surrogacy

Last week I was extremely lucky to lecture undergraduate and post graduate students and academic staff at the University of Hong Kong.  This was in the Department of Social Work and Social Administration at the invitation of Professor Cecilia Chan.  Dr Chan is the Associate Dean (Community Projects) with the Faculty of Social Sciences.  She is also the Honorary Professor at the University of Hong Kong’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology where she amongst others provides counselling to intended parents about fertility issues. 

I lectured about the Australian and international landscape to do with ART, surrogacy and egg and sperm donation.  I spoke for about two hours. 

There were lots of questions!  I was told that typically at the University there aren’t many questions asked, as students listen to the lecturer and a good number of questions is a strong indication that those present were strongly engaged with the topic and interested.  On that basis, they were highly interested!

It was a lot of fun and a great honour and a privilege to attend and speak.

I have now been the guest lecturer at universities on four continents:

  • In Australia for Griffith University and its graduate legal diploma programme, and the similar College of Law practical legal training program for graduate intended lawyers.

  • At Arizona State University – about domestic violence.

  • At Western Cape University about international surrogacy and egg donation.