The International IVF Initiative - i3

Session 72: Beyond the Rainbow

International IVF Initiative

Session 72: Beyond the Rainbow

Session 72: Beyond the Rainbow

Tuesday 20th July, 2021. 3PM EST/ 8PM GMT / 9PM CET  

Pride is more than a rainbow.

Dr. Dawn Kelk
Terry Schlenker 
with Panellist, Kurt M. Hughes

“Whose Child Is This Anyway?” Bill Singer 
"No Such Thing as a Normal Family...Family formations in Fertility Treatment" Venessa Smith 
"Pride is More Than a Flag, a Parade or a Campaign" Dr. Cindy Duke 
"Global Access To Surrogacy For Gay Couples " Francesca Steyn 


Bill Singer is managing partner at Singer & Fedun, LLC in Somerset County, New Jersey where he has practiced for 50 years. Bill is also of counsel to the law firm of Diana Adams Law and Mediation, PLLC in New York City.
His practice concentrates on the creation and protection of families of all configurations and as counselor to non-profit organizations.
Bill has served as General Counsel of the National LGBT Bar since its founding 34 years ago.

Bill is the Founder of the LGBT Family Law Institute, a network and community of attorneys practicing LGBT family law in the United States and abroad. It is a joint project of the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the National LGBT Bar Association with affiliates in UK/Ireland, Europe, Canada and Australia.


Venessa Smith is a HCPC registered clinical scientist with more than 20 years’ experience working in fertility. She has worked as an embryologist at a number of different UK clinics followed by the London Women’s Clinic in Harley Street as Embryology Laboratory and Sperm Bank Manager where she developed a specific interest in gamete donation. She later became the group's Quality Manager and is experienced in clinical governance, helping clinics develop Total Quality Management programmes, performing audits, and passionate about supporting staff.

Venessa is a regular speaker for the Donor Conception Network Planning for Parenthood Workshops and has contributed to a number of books and journals. She currently sits on the HFEA Licensed Centre’s Panel and was part of the HFEA Working Group for the most recent edition of the HFEA Code of Practice. She has recently joined the Assisted Conception Unit at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust.


Dr. Cindy M.P. Duke is a Johns Hopkins and Yale Trained Physician Scientist and Entrepreneur who is Board Certified in Gynecology and Obstetrics, Fellowship trained in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI) and has a PhD in Virology. As America’s only Dual Accredited women’s Health Fertility Expert and Virologist, Dr. Duke is the Physician Founder, Medical Director and Lab Director of the Nevada Fertility Institute in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

As a Physician Executive, Dr. Duke has served on a number of hospital boards. She is also a contributor and member of the Women’s Health Advisory Council (WHAC) for, a Medical Advisor for Proov, a member of the Medical and Scientific Advisory board for CONFIRMD by Buddy Cheque and a member of the Forbes Business Council. Dr. Cindy is also the current Leader of the Las Vegas Chapter of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs. Dr. Duke has been (and continues to be) the beneficiary of many outstanding mentors/role models throughout her career. As a result, outside of her clinical work and research, Dr. Duke understands the value of giving back to her community which she views as the global village.


Francesca Steyn is a fertility nurse specialist, chair of the Royal College of Nursing Fertility nursing forum, the Director of Fertility services at Peppy Health and co founder of My Surrogacy Journey. She has a special interest in gamete donation and surrogacy arrangements and training and development for nurses and HCA's within the fertility setting.
Francesca has co-authored RCN publications for fertility nursing staff and has published Department of Health guidance on surrogacy best practice and care in surrogate births. She was awarded surrogacy professional of the year in both 2018 and 2019 at the National Surrogacy Awards and has had the opportunity to present her work on both national and international platforms.


Dr. Dawn Kelk, received her PhD in 1997 and HCLD certification in 2000. She has directed IVF laboratories in both Canada & the United States for both private & academic institutions. She has been Director of the IVF Laboratory at Yale Fertility Center and Associate Research Scientist at the Yale University School of Medicine since 2014. Prior to that time, she was IVF Laboratory Director at RMA of CT & the University of Colorado. Dr. Kelk’s clinical & research interests are diverse, ranging from trophectoderm biopsy, PGT, vitrification of embryos and oocytes to analysis of liquid nitrogen cryo storage tank failure, laser impact on embryo biopsy and predictors of endometrial receptivity. Dr. Kelk is an active member of ASRM & SRBT


Terry Schlenker is the founding embryologist of CCRM
(The Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine). He founded the clinic with Dr. William Schoolcraft in late 1987. He served as the center’s first laboratory director (1987 to 1999). In his early years with CCRM, he established many firsts in the state of Colorado, including the first births from a frozen embryo, a donor oocyte, ICSI, a frozen oocyte, and a biopsied blastocyst. Beginning as a small local clinic, CCRM has expanded into a network of 11 clinics throughout North America. Terry now serves as Technical Director of Embryology for the CCRM Network. He frequently visits network clinics to insure consistent embryology technique, with the goal of achieving consistent success rates throughout the network.

KURT M. Hughes   

For over 25 years, Kurt has been assisting families with the legal aspects of adoption and assisted fertility, including gestational surrogacy and gamete and embryo donation. In 2018, Kurt helped to write a sweeping overhaul of Vermont’s Parentage Act, finally providing legal security for Vermonters growing their families through surrogacy and other assisted reproductive technologies. The act provides for pre-birth parentage orders for such families and provides an easy path for some sex-couples to secure parentage rights for their children without having to go through second-parent adoptions.

Kurt has represented clients in hundreds of adoptions since Vermont’s adoption statute was enacted in 1996, representing adoptive parents, birth parents, and agencies. He is experienced in interstate adoptions (ICPC), contested termination of parental rights litigation, stepparent adoptions, and adult adoptions. In 2015, Kurt was recognized by Vermont Senator Patrick J. Leahy as an Angel in Adoption™ at the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), in Washington, D.C.

Kurt is a Fellow of the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys (AAAA), an invitation-only national academy of attorneys who have distinguished themselves in the fields of adoption and ART law. He is currently a chair of the Academy’s Legislative Response Committee.

Kurt has been selected by his peers for inclusion in New England Super Lawyers in the area of family law. In 2014, he joined the top 1% of attorneys in Vermont to be selected as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Attorneys (ACTL), and was inducted at a ceremony in London.

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