Meet Louisa Ghevaert
I qualified as a solicitor in England and Wales over twenty years ago in 2000. I started my legal career as a specialist in family and children law, helping individuals and families navigate relationship issues, breakdowns and disputes about the care and upbringing of children.
Early professional successes
In 2008, I was asked to help a British couple who had entered into a commercial surrogacy arrangement in Ukraine and whose surrogate-born children were born stateless and parentless with no entitlement to citizenship anywhere in the world due to a complex international conflict of law.
These surrogate-born children risked being stranded in Ukraine and placed in a Ukrainian orphanage. I was able to help secure emergency travel clearance from the Home Office to enable the children to travel home to the UK with their intended parents.
I then successfully litigated the first international commercial surrogacy application in the English Family Court for the couple obtaining parental orders to secure their legal parentage and their legal status as a family under English law.
Establishing my own fertility and family law practice
My specialist fertility and family law practice for modern families grew rapidly from there. In 2009, I co-founded the UK’s first specialist fertility and family law firm helping build and legally protect modern families and those formed through assisted reproduction.
Back then, there was limited public understanding and awareness about the legalities and pitfalls of building modern families and successfully navigating assisted reproduction law. I went on to launch my own specialist Fertility and Family Law Firm, Louisa Ghevaert Associates, in 2019 to meet the growing need for specialist and in-depth family, fertility, donor conception and surrogacy law in the UK.
It has been a privilege to help pioneer fertility and family law for modern families in the UK. I am passionate about helping people build and legally protect their much-wanted families and improving the law for fertility patients, parents, children and families.
Over the years, I have been able to inform and help shape fertility law in the UK in a number of areas including: embryo storage, surrogacy, preservation and protection of individual fertility and posthumous conception. I have also successfully litigated numerous landmark fertility and family law cases in the English Family Court.
The potential complexities of assisted reproduction and adoption
A decision to start a family and undertake fertility treatment, use donor eggs or sperm, co-parent, work with a known donor, adopt, undergo surrogacy or re-structure family life is a big step. Assisted reproduction law and family law for modern families raises complex legal and wider issues about fertility preservation, legal parentage and identity, birth certificates, parental responsibility, contact, care and upbringing of children.
There is no international harmonisation of fertility, donor conception and surrogacy law and each jurisdiction takes its own approach which can leave parents, children and families without the legal status and rights they need.
Fertility law and policy is also evolving rapidly as a result of ongoing advances in medicine and science, increasing awareness and acceptance of assisted reproductive technologies and trends in later-life parenthood. This intersection of science and genetic technologies, fertility and family law increasingly challenges and outpaces legal frameworks in the UK and internationally, making it important to obtain specialist legal advice.
How we can help
My specialist fertility and family law practice is here to help people identify, understand and make informed decisions about family building and to help place family life on a firm legal and practical footing if or when circumstances change.
It can help project manage your family-building journey and re-imagine family life when circumstances change. My specialist expertise encompasses:
- International and UK surrogacy
- donor conception
- fertility preservation and treatment law
- posthumous conception
- law and policy (around fertility and genomics)
- co-parenting and known donor arrangements
- legal parentage and parental responsibility
- complex assisted reproduction disputes
- children and family law disputes
- International family law
I also provide expert witness fertility, surrogacy and donor conception law services to support and defend claims for medical negligence where individual fertility has been lost or impaired (e.g. following missed cancer diagnosis, gynaecological/obstetric injury).
Please get in touch
If you would like more information about my specialist fertility and family law practice please take a look at my Bloss profile where you can find out more and access a range of topical articles about fertility and family law in the UK.