Louisa Ghevaert, Head of Fertility and Surrogacy, Director - Family Law
Louisa Ghevaert worked with Vardags from May to November 2018. She is the UK’s preeminent fertility and parenting law expert and Director and Head of the Fertility & Surrogacy Law team at Vardags in London.
Louisa's groundbreaking legal practice in the field of fertility and family law has earned her a place on The Lawyer Hot 100 List 2018 which “celebrates the UK’s top lawyers” and “tracks exceptional individuals from private practice, in-house and the Bar”.
She has litigated numerous landmark UK fertility law cases since 2008, starting with the first case in UK legal history to test the law for British parents conceiving through an international commercial surrogacy arrangement in Re X and Y (foreign surrogacy) .
Louisa is influential at a law and policy making level. Her pioneering legal practice has helped shape the development and cross-section of fertility, family and medical law, policy and practice in the UK over the last decade.
Louisa’s specialist expertise covers international and UK surrogacy, donor conception, fertility treatment law, posthumous conception, co-parenting and known donation, complex children and family law disputes, adoption, financial provision for children, creation and protection of modern families and international family law.
- Louisa is named as one of The Lawyer Hot 100 2018, following her delivery of groundbreaking expert evidence in complex medical negligence proceedings in the High Court in the case of XX v Whittington Hospital NHS Trust  EWHC 2318 (QB) This first of its kind judgment secured the first ever UK damages award for surrogacy and represents the intersection of medical negligence and fertility law and practice in the UK.
- The Lawyer Hot 100 celebrates lawyers with “star quality” who act “on the most significant matters, disrupting the industry with their creative flair.
Louisa is heralded as a “leading expert in UK fertility, family and surrogacy law” by the media including The Independent, The Telegraph, BBC World Service and The Daily Mail.
- Louisa is ranked by Chambers & Partners Guide UK and The Legal 500 UK as a leading recognised expert in the field of fertility, parenting and family law.
- Louisa’s cutting-edge legal practice was Highly Commended at the Law Society Excellence Awards 2013 in the Category of Business Development and Innovation (shortlisted in 2012).
- She was also shortlisted by Jordans Family Law Awards 2013 in the category of Most Innovative Family Lawyer of the Year.
- Louisa featured as The Times' Lawyer of the Week (1 October 2009) and Legal Gazette Lawyer in the News following her work helping to win a high profile last minute change to embryo storage law in September 2009.
Law, Policy and Professional Memberships
Louisa is influential at a law and policy level:
- She is a member of the national Egg Donation Stakeholder Advisory Group led by De Montfort University. This work is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the UK’s largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues impacting on business, the public sector and civil society. This Group includes policy and advocacy representatives, professionals, egg donors and academics focusing on egg donation in the UK and internationally.
- She is an ART Fellow of the Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys and an ART Fellow of the American Bar Association.
- She was a member of the Surrogacy UK Working Group on Surrogacy Law Reform and a contributor to its landmark report on Surrogacy in the UK; Myth busting and reform (November 2015).
- She provided expert evidence to the Nuffield Council on donor conception in 2012 and to The Hague on international surrogacy in 2013.
- She submitted written evidence as an expert adviser to the HFEA’s Ethics and Law Advisory Committee, and provided detailed legal comment to the Department of Health’s 2009 consultation on proposed draft surrogacy regulations, which won changes to the law on nationality in international surrogacy cases.
- She was a member of the stakeholders’ Parliamentary strategy group concerned with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 and its associated regulations, and lobbied for legal changes on a diverse range of issues, including surrogacy and embryo storage.
Press & publications:
Louisa is the go-to specialist in her field and as such provides expert commentary in the media on fertility, family and parenting law issues, including television, radio and the national press.
She is also a widely published author on fertility, surrogacy and family law issues in magazines and leading legal publications, including contributing to the practitioner reference book The International Family Law Practice, and co-authoring both the medical reference book Reducing Risk in Fertility Treatment and Resolution guide The Modern Family.
Lousia recently commented in the Daily Mail on a couple considering suing a fertility clinic for 'worthless' IVF 'add-ons'.
Louisa has also authored a number of articles including the following:
Was it legal to create a grandson with a dead man’s sperm? - (The Times, September 2018)
Rachael Bland's fight to preserve her fertility is a battle fought by many modern women (Female First, September 2018)
The significance of fertility: A landmark ruling on posthumous conception - (Bionews, September 2018)
Anything but child's play: surrogacy and thorny issues of identity, parenthood and status in modern families - (Family Law, August 2018)
Posthumous conception: a legacy in life, incapacity and death - (Family Law Week, August 2018)
3 person IVF approved by HFEA - what does this mean? - (Family Law, January 2017)
Surrogacy in the UK: time for legal reform? – (The Times, November 2015)
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Louisa has eighteen years of family and fertility law experience. Louisa qualified as a solicitor in 2000 and worked in private practice from 2000 to 2009 before co-founding the UK’s first specialist fertility and parenting law firm. Louisa now leads the specialist Assisted Reproduction Law Team at Vardags in London.