Today's Family Lawyer Podcast

Natalie Sutherland: Understanding fertility and surrogacy law

Recorded in November 2022 this Today’s Family Lawyer Podcast features Head of Modern Families Department at Burgess Mee Natalie Sutherland discussing her work as a fertility and surrogacy law specialist and the launch of the Fertility Workplace Pledge; a commitment by business to better engage with the fertility challenges employees often face.

The discussion covers her work and support for the extension on the time limit on freezing eggs (previously 10 years within the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 (HFEA)).

Natalie also covers her thoughts on the delayed reform of surrogacy laws which we continue to wait further details around.

A passionate advocate of those going through fertility challenges Natalie suggests that the process of consent, while important, may be over complicated with up to 80 pages of consent forms before treatment in some cases.

She also feels strongly that people who wish to undertake fertility treatment should be better informed around the legal consent implications, not just the clinical implications. Involving a lawyer may not be what everyone wants, but doctors and nurses don’t want, nor are they best positioned, to provide legal advice around consent.

Natalie also discusses her experience of a recent case in which she acted on behalf  of a family who wished to retrieve sperm from their son who’d had a stroke at a very young age, and was unlikely to regain consciousness.

The challenge for many family lawyers is that the law has not kept pace with science or society and we need to create a more joined up process between the legal and clinical side of fertility treatment.

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