Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The whirlwind surrogacy trip: getting hitched in Vegas

Tomorrow I travel to the US. It is a whirlwind trip of just over a week.

First stop:  San Francisco

On Friday I am part of a panel presenting a continuing legal education session for the Bar Association of San Francisco about surrogacy. I will be talking about international surrogacy. The other presenters are noted local attorney Deborah Wald (who will present about local surrogacy issues) , local fertility doctor Dr Isabelle Ryan, and local fertility counsellor Peggy Orlin. The chair of the session is Dennis Hanshew from San Francisco. It should be a great session!

Second stop: Chicago

Straight after San Francisco I will be in Chicago for several days attending the assisted reproductive treatment law conference of the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Treatment Attorneys or AAARTA. I am  the first international Fellow of AAARTA outside the US or Canada. This will be the first AAARTA conference that I have attended and will present at since I presented at the AAARTA ART conference in Charleston in 2013.

I will be part of a panel that is talking about international issues, along with Louisa Ghavaert from England and Mandy Pecher from Germany. The chair of the session is Margaret Swain. I will be talking about an overview of surrogacy in Australia, especially how it has changed since Baby Gammy.

Last stop: Getting married in Vegas

After Chicago, the intention was to visit  my friends, Dr Bruce Shapiro and Dr Said Daneshmand at the Fertility Center of Las Vegas on the way home. And then a couple of weeks ago, things changed.

My fiance Mitchell and I were waiting to see what happened in Canberra before we got married. We were planning to go to NZ to get married, if the politicians failed to enact equal marriage laws. Well  they did fail. We then had a choice- wait for it, or have our trip to NZ.

We had thought of getting married in the US. Some months ago a colleague Dianne Hinson, a surrogacy lawyer form Maryland, suggested that we get married in the US. This was an idea that we were toying with, but rejected.

And then a couple of weeks ago, Mitch said to me: " Darling, why don't we get married in Vegas? We are going to be there anyway." So we are getting married in Vegas. And for everyone who asks- no it won't be Elvis officiating!

I am delighted that my good friend Dr Daneshmand will be my best man and that Shiva from the Fertility Center of Las Vegas will be the maid of honour. 

We are blessed that at short notice some of our American friends are able to attend the wedding. 

And then comes the bittersweet moment: we come home- to have our marriage not recognised here.

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