More couples need to stand up, like Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, and demand the freedom to choose how to define their relationship. There are millions of unmarried couples in the UK and their ability to choose between marriage and civil partnership should not be determined by their sexual orientation.
Starting a family can be a wonderful and emotional time for any family, but when parents have experienced fertility issues and their journey to parenthood has been longer and more difficult, this can leave people feeling sensitive and fragile. Many couples are turning to surrogacy to create their family and in some cases this follows years of trying to become pregnant. The decision to embark on surrogacy is a huge and important one and the surrogacy journey itself can also be stressful. Parents feel hopeful and anxious at many points, from starting a relationship with the surrogate to when embryos are created and transferred, when pregnancy tests are undertaken and when it comes to the birth and getting used to being parents. Having children brings fundamental changes to family life, which can at times put a strain on the relationship.
Another year has passed since our blog on the fast developing world of surrogacy. While overall the progress for reform in this area is slow, 2016 saw a number of developments which are highlighted below. Despite numerous discussions aimed at modernising and harmonising the surrogacy field, the situation is sadly still slow and complicated for parents trying to start a family via surrogacy. Parents must make sure that they have gathered information on both family and immigration law implications before navigating the potential minefield of starting a family using surrogacy.
Whilst travelling in Sydney, I met Isabel Karpin and Michaela Stockey-Bridge of the University of Technology Sydney who, through Regulating Relations, are conducting the largest Australian research project of its kind: "Forming Families Inside and Outside of the Law".
While visiting Australia, I had the opportunity of going to the Family Court of Australia in Sydney and discussing the differences between family law in Australia and England with lawyers David Barry, Suzanne Pigdon and Rosemary Norgate. While some of the themes and terminology were familiar, there are some fundamental differences from which I think we could learn a thing or two.