A definitive success!
I always give myself a month or so to reflect on and to judge the success of any event that I help to organise. Some will judge by the number of attendees, others will judge by cash flow; I don't, I judge the success of my events by whether or not they made a positive impact on the people that gave up their time to come.
The March 2015 Families Through Surrogacy UK conference brought together over 120 participants from all component parts of the surrogacy sector: surrogacy agencies, lawyers, IVF clinics and, most importantly, intended parents.
So to judge whether it was a success or not? I really do believe that it was. Getting that amount of people out on a sunny London Saturday is near on amazing. The professionals came from all over the world (but with, as usual, huge US dominance), and the intended parents that I spoke to were from France, Germany, Sweden, Spain and of course the UK.
But attendance aside, the most amazing thing was the large number of voluntary panelists that helped to frame some interesting discussions.
The panel that has had the best response (and which was a first) was the one where a policy-maker from Her Majesty's Passport Office (HMPO) gave a talk on how UK passports are obtained for children born through international surrogacy. Getting information directly from the HMPO on what to do (and importantly what NOT to do) was fantastic!
There is an open debate on the actual value to intended parents of sales-led conferences versus that of the education-led conferences. The Families Through Surrogacy UK conference very firmly falls into the latter category where, in my opinion, intended parents are able to learn about surrogacy in an impartial manner.
In addition, the conference did not discriminate against any section of society, it allowed anyone who was looking at surrogacy in any country to come along. This is also why the conference was a success. It facilitated an open and honest discussion for everyone on many topics that surround surrogacy including talking about issues and problems that intended parents could face at any stage of their journey, and it continues to do so.