Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Surrogacy debate in Melbourne

The annual Louis Waller lecture commemorates the significant contribution Emeritus Professor Louis Waller has made to the field of assisted reproductive treatment. This year the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA)  presents a conversation starter'Both sides of the coin', exploring the contentious issue of remuneration for donors and surrogates.
 

Some argue that the lack of compensation for donors and surrogates in Australia is driving Australians overseas in search of donors and surrogates. Others contend that donation and surrogacy should be purely altruistic, and that remuneration may cause more harm than good.
 
Two prominent legal academics, Professor Jenni Millbank and Dr Sonia Allen, will explore the arguments for the benefit of the public, health professionals and academics.

Places are limited. At last count there were only 9 tickets left!


Where: 
Russell Kennedy Pty Ltd
Level 12
La Trobe Street
Melbourne

When:
6-7.30pm
31 October

Cost: $28

To register: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/event/5581676946/?ref=enivte001&invite=NDExNTkzMy9jYXRoeS5iYXJ0bGV0dEBmd2MuZ292LmF1LzA%3D&utm_source=eb_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=inviteformalv2&utm_term=attend&ref=enivte001

 And I'm going to throw my two cents in. In my view the numbers tell the story. Jenni Millbank's figures show that about 1000 children were born in the year ended 30 June 2012 to Australian intended parents in India and Thailand alone. The link to that story is on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Stephen.Page.Lawyer.Brisbane or my Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/stephenpagelaw.

That number says to me clearly that our system doesn't work, a point I made in my submissions to the Family Law Council . In my view our system needs to change because at the moment if it were working, then intended parents would not be voting with their feet.

If we are so keen to protect women in developing countries, why do we not make it easier to undertake surrogacy at home?

In recent discussions I had with prominent US surrogacy lawyer John Weltman, John and I estimated that about 4000 or 5000 children were born in international surrogacy arrangements each year - where they are born in one country and move to the country of their intended parents.

That means that the number of children born to Australian intended parents in India and Thailand alone represents 20-25% of all children born worldwide through  international surrogacy arrangements, meaning that we are ground zero- and demonstrating our failure as a nation to adequately regulate surrogacy.

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