From the Deputy Director

What’s Happening in ART

January, 2016

2016 promises to be an interesting year for AAARTA and the world of ART.

Membership:  AAARTA has welcomed several new Fellows, including a number from the international arena.  We are so happy to have all of you join us, and invite you to please be active in our various committees and on the Listserv.  Please plan to attend our informative and timely CLE programs, including our Webinars.  We all benefit from each other’s perspectives and experiences!   Congratulations and again, welcome to all of you.  Please feel free to contact Judy Sperling-Newton, AAARTA Director, or Peggy Swain, AAARTA Deputy Director with your questions, comments or offers to volunteer!

Legislation:  Most of the state legislatures are back in active session now,  and our Legislative Response Committee stands ready to assist Fellows in states where ART bills are introduced.  Thus far,  a number of  bills have been introduced in various states (MD, IA, DE, SC, IL, FL NH, UT, NY, VA, among others).  If any of you in those states are involved with proposed legislation, please let Kurt Hughes, John Greene or me know how we may help you with your advocacy efforts.

International Issues:  At the invitation of the State Department, AAARTA leadership will be attending a public hearing to discuss surrogacy and parentage and to help the State Department develop and expand policy regarding the Hague’s involvement.  As you may have been reading, there is discussion about whether the Hague should apply to international surrogacy arrangements, and if so, how that would work.  AAARTA has presented and endorsed a carefully considered official position on Hague involvement (white paper authored by Nidhi Desai and Emily Dudak-Taylor).  Our position was ably defended by Nidhi at the IAML Conference on International Surrogacy in May.  Accordingly, the State Department recognizes AAARTA’s particular expertise in this area and we look forward to actively participating in the forum. We will report to the membership on this hearing.  Additionally, Fellow Anne-Marie Hutchinson, as a representative of the International Association of Matrimonial Lawyers, will occupy one of the very few observer seats at the Hague Experts’ Panel hearing later this year.

Case Law News:  The much awaited decision in the Findley v. Lee case was reported by the Superior Court of California (County of San Francisco) on November 18 of last year.  Fellow Susan Crockin provides an excellent and thorough analysis in her Legally Speaking column for ASRM (December 16, 2015).  Briefly, the court determined that, consistent with the fertility center’s consent forms executed by the parties and, over the objection of Dr. Lee, the five remaining pre-embryos stored by the couple could be discarded.  In my review of the literature, I found that Fellows Diane Hinson and Susan Crockin were quoted in newspaper articles on this subject.  Nicely done, Diane and Susan!

Upcoming Programs:  Please be sure to check out the Webinars (you’ll receive notice by Listserv).  And, of course, don’t forget that there will be a full ARTs track at the Denver annual conference. 

The annual SEEDS conference in Long Beach CA will be held February 26 & 27.  AAARTA leadership will represent our organization and speak to attendees about the role and responsibilities of attorneys in ART arrangements.  All are welcome to attend!

The ABA Spring Family Law conference will be held May 7-10, with several ARTs topics scheduled.  AAARTA will be well represented on the program faculty.