We're Back: MHB 2021 Parenting options for European Gay Men Conference

Brussels, November 6-7, 2021

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Full conference program

Friday, November 5, 2021

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Registration: 16:30 - 17:00
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The Brussels Advocacy & Research Forum - Surrogacy Families: Stigma and Stereotypes: 17:00 - 18:30 (Meeting room 1, Floor 26)
The MHB Advocacy and Research Forums (ARFs) are an opportunity to look at the social, ethical, legal and empirical aspects of surrogacy and LGBT parenting. This time we plan to examine the stigmatization and negative attitudes across Europe towards families through surrogacy and the children born through surrogacy. We will look at how surrogacy is often misrepresented by the media, pop culture and political discourse, especially in countries where surrogacy is illegal. Indeed, often the problem may exist even within the LGBT community. The Forum will seek to define the extent to which this problem impacts families through surrogacy (and especially their children), and to examine how we can affect the terms by which surrogacy is debated, discussed, or portrayed.
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Welcome Reception! 18:30 (Park Ballroom, Floor 1)
Meet and network with the Forum's presenters, dozens of surrogacy professionals, community activists, and prospective parents.

Saturday, November 6, 2021

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Registration: 8:15-9:00 (Foyer, Floor 1)
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Overview of Parenting Options for European Gay Men: including in the USA, Canada and other international destinations: 9:00-9:30 (Grand Ballroom, Floor 1)
Introductions and an overview of parenting options for European gay men.
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Planning Your Parenting Journey: 9:30-10:30 (Grand Ballroom, Floor 1)
Surrogacy fathers from the USA and Europe will lead a comprehensive surrogacy workshop that was developed based on the accumulated knowledge of hundreds of gay men who have already gone through the process. In the first part we will go over the various surrogacy arrangements available for gay men, and prepare you to make the basic decisions regarding your surrogacy journey. Topics covered will include:
  • Basic terminology, types and components of typical surrogacy arrangements.
  • Typical sequence and timeline for gestational surrogacy journeys.
  • Major decisions that shape the surrogacy journey.
  • Considering your family vision, financial constraints, risk tolerance and ethical preferences.
  • Ethical best practices.
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Coffee Break: 10:30-11:00
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Comparative Panel: Surrogacy in Canada and the USA - 11:00-11:30 (Grand Ballroom, Floor 1)
This panel will compare journeys in the USA and Canada to help you understand the key differences and how journeys are similar.

Moderator: Sherman Taylor, MHB - Board Chairman

- Sara Cohen, LLB, Fertility Law Canada
- Victoria Ferrara, Esq., Worldwide Surrogacy Specialists
- Richard Vaughn, Esq., International Fertility Law Group
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Getting Started Guide: picking providers, surrogacy resources and financial assistance - 11:30-12:00 (Grand Ballroom, Floor 1)
An overview of online resources, support groups and other guidance MHB offers to prospective gay fathers, suggestions on how to effectively gather information and select surrogacy providers, and on how to make the process more affordable with discounts and financial assistance.
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Q&A session: MHB Membership Benefits Program (MBP) and The Gay Parenting Assistance Program (GPAP) - 12:00-12:20 (Grand Ballroom, Floor 1)

- Lisa Schuster, MHB - Director of Programming
- Brian Blitzer, MHB - GPAP Benefits Coordinator
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Considerations for Egg Donation - 12:20-12:45 (Grand Ballroom, Floor 1)
Understand what criteria and information is available when choosing your egg donor. Learn about the potential sources to find your egg donor, and how your criteria will impact your journey.

- Greg Wiles, Pacific Fertility Center LA
- Hilary Smith, Extraordinary Conceptions
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Lunch / Gay Parenting Resource Fair: 12:45-14:00 (Vista, Floor 27)
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Enjoy lunch and explore the resource fair of Gay Parenting Services - more than twenty tables where you can meet and receive information from leading clinics, surrogacy and adoption agencies, lawyers and supporting community organizations. The fair will continue until 17:00.
Lunch is sponsored by Worldwide Surrogacy Specialists.
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Breakout sessions - come meet the sponsors: 14:00-16:00 (1st & 26th Floors - see table)
Attendees will have the opportunity to take part in up to 7 introductory group consultations with the various providers. Take advantage of this opportunity to get to know these surrogacy providers. Most sessions will be 18 minutes long (plus 2-3 minutes switch time), with some of the closing sessions lasting 8 minutes each. They take place simultaneously in 4 meeting rooms. The Gay Parenting Resource Fair will also continue to be available during this period.

Grand Ballroom 1, Floor 1

Grand Ballroom 2, Floor 1

Meeting Room 1, Floor 26

Meeting Room 3, Floor 26

14:00 - 14:20

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14:20 - 14:40

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14:40 - 15:00

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15:00 - 15:20

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15:20 - 15:40

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15:40 - 15:50

15:50 - 16:00

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Gay Parenting Resource Fair / Coffee Break: 16:00-17:00 (Vista, Floor 27)
Sponsored by San Diego Fertility Center.
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A Mindful Look at Surrogacy - Psychological and Ethical Aspects: 17:00-18:00 (Grand Ballroom, Floor 1)
In this session we will examine how we feel about surrogacy: the meanings and significance people tend to attribute to surrogacy in their lives, with a special focus on surrogates’ perspectives. We will look at questions such as:
  • What are the dominant social perceptions of surrogacy in the USA and Canada? How are they different than the perceptions in Europe?
  • How do surrogates understand their experiences?
  • What are the roots for concerns about exploitation and commodification in surrogacy?
  • What are the experiences of children born via surrogacy?
We will present recent research on surrogacy, and evidence from studies about the way surrogacy affects the the welfare of the child, the surrogate, and her family. We will also look at programs meant to encourage a more mindful surrogacy experience, such as MHB's Framework for Ethical Surrogacy.

Moderator: Silvia Schneider Fox, PsyD, MHB board member

Speakers / Panelists:
  • Aurelien Evenor, Surro Connections
  • Lisa Schuster, MHB - Director of Programming
  • Jérôme Brun, Family Source Consultants
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Personal Stories Panel: 18:00-19:00 (Grand Ballroom, Floor 1)
Hear the diverse personal experiences of several gay surrogacy dads and surrogates (sponsored by Surro Connections).

Moderator: Silvia Schneider Fox, PsyD, MHB board member

Open to conference attendees and MHB Supporting Members

19:00 - Happy Hour and Member Social

Join us in Park Ballroom (Floor 1) to close the evening with a social gathering. This casual time will be a great opportunity to discuss the information from the day’s sessions as well as network with other parents, intended parents and professionals.

  • Refreshments will be served.
  • Registered attendees receive a coupon for one free drink.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

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Registration: 8:15-9:00 (Foyer, Floor 1)
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Expert Panel: Medical Aspects of Surrogacy 9:00 - 10:30 (Grand Ballroom, Floor 1)
The medical screening of future fathers, egg donors and surrogates, the creation of optimal embryos, and the IVF process.

Moderator: Said Daneshmand, MD, San Diego Fertility Center

- Guy Ringler, MD, California Fertility Partners
- Jerald Goldstein, MD, Fertility Specialists of Texas
- Ashim Kumar, MD
, Western Fertility Institute
- Rahi Victory, MD, Victory Reproductive Care Canada
- Melvin Thornton, MD, Global Fertility & Genetics
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Coffee Break: 10:30-10:45
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Expert Panel: Budgeting and Insurance issues for non-USA residents: 10:45-11:45 (Grand Ballroom, Floor 1)
A closer look at medical insurance and surrogate compensation packages. This panel addresses specific surrogacy budgeting considerations for non-USA residents, and IVF and opportunities to receive coverage or financial support for surrogacy through an employer.
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Sponsored by Art Risk Financial and Insurance Solutions

Moderator: Lisa Schuster, MHB - Director of Programming

- Christene Anthony, Center for Surrogate Parenting
- Brad Spencer, Same Love Surrogacy
- Virginia Hart, Art Risk Financial and Insurance Solutions
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Country-Specific Expert Panels: 11:45-13:00 (1st & 26th Floors - see below)
France: Grand Ballroom Floor 1
Belgium: Floor 26 - Meeting Room 1
Netherlands: Floor 26 - Meeting Room 2
Germany: Floor 26 - Meeting Room 3
UK/Rest of Europe: Floor 26 - Meeting Room 4

This session will provide in-depth advice for prospective parents in five different groups: Belgians, Dutch, French, Germans and European in general (from the UK, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, etc.). The sessions will be facilitated by experienced surrogacy parents from the various countries. Panelists will include American, Canadian and European legal experts to discuss how parental rights can be established in the USA, and specific legal arrangements needed for each country in order to bring the babies back, and to secure residency and parental rights in each country.

Legal experts
  • Attorney Clélia Richard / France
  • Attorney Fabian Gaudry / Belgium
  • Attorney Thomas Oberhäuser / Germany
  • Attorney Wilma Eusman / The Netherlands
  • Richard Vaughn, Esq., International Fertility Law Group
  • Anthony Brown, Esq., Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation
  • Sara Cohen, LLB, Fertility Law Canada
  • Molly O’Brien, Esq., International Fertility Law Group
  • Steve Snyder, Esq., IARC Surrogacy
  • Attorney Sarah Williams, Payne Hicks Beach
  • Stephanie Caballero, Esq., Surrogacy Law Center