11 June 2023
Louisa Ghevaert was delighted to attend and join the debate at the 2nd International Surrogacy Forum in Copenhagen, Denmark, from 8-9 June 2023. The theme of the Forum was “Global surrogacy in a changing world – ethical. practical and legal developments in assisted reproduction and cross-border parenthood”.
The 2nd International Surrogacy Forum in Copenhagen was hosted by Aalborg University and Nordic Centre for International and Comparative Family Law (NorFam). It was co-organized by NorFam with Cambridge Family Law (CFL), the International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL) and the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association (ABA). The Forum was held in the impressive Axelborg Hall in Tivoli in the Centre of Copenhagen.
The 2nd International Surrogacy Forum 2023 held a wide range of informative sessions addressing developments across the surrogacy sector from around the world including: the UK, Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa, Asia, European Union and the Hague Conference. There were also sessions explaining the latest research and developments in understanding children’s perspectives of surrogacy, children’s rights, the character and views of surrogates and best practice for surrogacy agencies. There were also sessions addressing responses to global developments and crises and a panel discussion “Looking to the future – where next in the law of parenthood?”.
The Forum hosted a gala dinner in the Tivoli gardens, one of Copenhagen’s main attractions, where delegates networked and spent time together over a hot summer’s evening.
The 2nd International Surrogacy Forum placed a spotlight on many emerging issues and highlighted the challenges associated with establishing effective, ethical access and equity to surrogacy around the world, as well as recognition of legal parenthood for surrogate born children.
As I listened to the latest global developments and updates, it emerged that the issue of parenthood through surrogacy is as inherently simple as it is complex depending upon the paradigm adopted. Voices of children spoke compellingly about love and kindness of surrogates in helping their parents have a much wanted child and the importance of respecting their surrogate born family identity. Other sessions grappled with complex and contentious issues concerning payments and compensation, intra-family surrogacy, best practice and basic standards of “common decency”.
What became clear in my mind is that approaches to parenthood around the world are bound up with gender. This has created systems of law and deep seated approaches which have traditionally viewed the surrogate as mother and her husband as father. However, surrogacy is a pathway to parenthood that is a fundamentally different model. It conflicts with traditional norms because it dissects gender, as well as genetics and parenthood and crosses international borders.
It is also clear that gender is increasingly a much more fluid notion and gender norms are evolving rapidly, particularly amongst younger generations in democratic nations. As such, traditional notions of parenthood and gender based approaches to surrogacy raise all manner of difficulties and tensions which continue to play out in different guises around the world. To address this, will require us to take a long hard look at our gender approaches to life, not just in a surrogacy context, but as a global societal, law and policy issue. Gender influences so many aspects of life and access to things like sport, education, work, reproductive rights and family building. We therefore owe it to ourselves and future generations to look for new ways to address this sensitively and inclusively to reflect modern realities.
Need a surrogacy lawyer for a UK or international surrogacy arrangement? Louisa Ghevaert Associates provides a range of specialist legal solutions to assist with the management of surrogacy law, legal parentage, parental responsibility, birth certificates and the upbringing of surrogate born children. If you are considering, or are part way through, a surrogacy arrangement in the UK or internationally and you would like to discuss your situation or you require specialist fertility, surrogacy and family law assistance email email@example.com or by telephone +44 (0)20 7965 8399.