Recent Publications by Associate Professor Fiona Kelly

Fiona Kelly La Trobe LawRecently, La Trobe Law School’s Associate Professor Fiona Kelly published two academic articles entitled, “The family law implications of early contact between sperm donors and their donor offspring” and “The court process is slow but biology is fast’: Assessing the impact of the Family Court approval process on transgender children and their families”.

Publishing in Family Matters, the first article considers the possible family law implications of early contact between sperm donors and their donor offspring. It presents the findings of an interview-based study of 25 single Australian women who conceived using donated sperm or embryos. The study found that the majority of the women had sought early contact with donors. In light of the high rates of early contact, the article asks whether the donor could ever be declared a legal parent or successfully apply for an order to spend time with the child.

Access the journal article via SSRN, here.

The article titled “The court process is slow but biology is fast’: Assessing the impact of the Family Court approval process on transgender children and their families,” was published in the Australian Journal of Family Law.  Australian adolescents experiencing gender dysphoria must obtain Family Court approval before they can commence hormone treatment that will enable them to develop the pubertal characteristics of their chosen sex. While the legal reasoning supporting this requirement has been widely criticised, much less attention has been given to the impact of the Family Court process on transgender adolescents and their families. This article presents the findings of a small, qualitative study with parents of transgender children who were either preparing for the Family Court process, actively engaged in it, or had recently completed it. It concludes that the Court approval process imposes a significant and harmful burden on children and their families that far outweighs any risks associated with permitting parents to consent to treatment.

Access the journal article via SSRN, here.

Lise Leitner