Natalie was delighted to speak alongside Baroness Hale at a conference in London on 20-21 June of leading UK and international experts in donor conception and alternative reproduction.
Baroness Hale of Richmond (first woman Justice of the Supreme Court, and former chair of the committee which drafted the very first HFEA Code of Practice in 1990) gave the conference opening address, speaking about the law for ‘new families’ and how the family courts have sought to uphold the welfare of the child in a range of cases involving donor conception, lesbian parenting and surrogacy.
Natalie, invited to give the response to Lady Hale’s address, shared her practical perspective of the issues affecting non-traditional families on the ground, and spoke about her personal experience. She talked about the deficiencies of current UK law on surrogacy, and how important the new legal rights are for same sex parents. She discussed how complex and divisive known donor disputes can be, and how in practice unequal biological or legal parentage between separating parents can raise temperatures significantly. But she also noted that many parents conceiving in non-traditional ways do so with enormous care and planning, and stressed that the success stories should be remembered as well as the difficult cases which come to court.
The other conference speakers included leading academics from Manchester and Cambridge University, experienced practitioners at fertility clinics, experts in bioethics and international lawyers. Professor Carol Smart and Dr Petra Nordqvist from the Morgan Centre, who hosted the conference, presented the results of their fascinating research project on donor conception, which has explored the responses of parents and grandparents in different family forms to having a child in their family conceived with the help of a donor.
You can read Natalie’s response to Baroness Hale here, or find out more about our campaigning work. You can also find out more about the Morgan Centre’s research: Relative strangers – a key new study of information sharing and senses of connectedness in donor conceived families.
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