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 program addresses the proposition that families formed through surrogacy are often misrepresented by the media, pop culture and political discourse. It can be argued that they are affected by myths and misconceptions even more than the prospective parents or the children they help bring to this world. The Forum will facilitate a discussion about what we know from experience and research on the actual motivations and life circumstances of surrogates, and how they feel about the way they are 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 US, 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.
  • Known vs. anonymous egg donations.
  • Ethical best practices.
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Coffee break: 10:30-11:00
Sponsored by Alcea Surrogacy
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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 US and Canada to help you understand the key differences and how journeys are similar.

- Julia Ross, Canadian Surrogacy Options
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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)
- Ron Poole-Dayan, MHB - Executive Director
- Lisa Schuster, MHB - Director of Programming
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Considerations for Egg Donation - 12:20-12:45 (Grand Ballroom, Floor 1)
Locating and selecting egg donors.

Moderator: TBD

- Tbd, tbd
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Lunch / Gay Parenting Resource Fair: 12:45-14:00 (Vista, Floor 1)
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Enjoy lunch and explore the resource fair of Gay Parenting Services (Park Ballroom) - 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 1)
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’ perspective. We will look at questions such as:
  • What are the dominant social perceptions of surrogacy in the U.S. 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: tbd, MHB board member

Speakers / Panelists:
  • tbd, tbd
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Personal stories panel: 18:00-18:45 (Grand Ballroom, Floor 1)
Hear the diverse personal experiences of several gay surrogacy dads and surrogates (sponsored by Surro Connections)

Panelists include:






Open to conference attendees and MHB Supporting Members

19:30 - 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. Sponsored by International Surrogacy Center.

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

Sunday, November 7, 2021

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Registration: 8:15-9:00 (Foyer Grand Ballroom, 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
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Coffee break: 10:30-10:45
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Expert Panel: Budgeting and Insurance issues for non-USA residents: 10:45-11:30 (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.
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Sponsored by Art Risk

Moderator: Ron Poole-Dayan, MHB board

- Brad Spencer, Same Love Surrogacy
- Virginia Hart, Art Risk
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IVF and Surrogacy Benefits at Work: 11:30-11:45 (Grand Ballroom, Floor 1)
An overview on opportunities to receive coverage of surrogacy related medical costs as part of employee benefits or state-mandated insurance.

Moderator: Ron Poole-Dayan, MHB board

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Country-specific expert panels: 11:45-13:00 (France: Grand Ballroom, floor 1, Belgium: floor 26, meeting room 3, German: floor 26, meeting room 2, Netherlands: floor 26, meeting room 1, and the UK: floor 25, meeting room 3).
This session will provide in-depth advice for prospective parents in four 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 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 Wilma Eusman / The Netherlands
  • Avv. Ida Parisi / Italy
  • Attorney Clélia Richard / France
  • Attorney Fabian Gaudry / Belgium
  • Stephanie Caballero / Surrogacy Law Center
  • Steve Snyder, Esq. / International Assisted Reproduction Center (IARC)
  • Sarah Williamsa / Payne Hicks Beach