The 2017 Brussels conference on
Parenting options for European gay men
September 23-24, 2017
Brandon J. Bankowski, MD, MPH
Dr. Bankowski is one of the most-respected and experienced physicians helping LGBTQ intended parents build their families through donor egg surrogacy in the USA. He is a board-certiﬁed reproductive endocrinologist with extensive experience in IVF, egg donation, surrogacy and genomics. He has practiced at Oregon Reproductive Medicine (ORM) since 2005. He and his partners at ORM have helped LGBTQ intended parents from across the world build their families. Dr. Bankowski is passionate about providing ORM’s patients the best care and the highest chance for success on their first attempt, while looking after the genetic health of their family. His vision lead to the formation of ORM Genomics, ORM’s industry-leading reproductive genomics program and in-house genetics laboratory, as well as the integration of advanced genetic screening of all donors in the ORM Donors program. He is committed to helping LGBTQ intended parents using donor egg surrogacy benefit from the latest advances in genetic screening to help them have the best chance of a healthy baby on their first attempt.
Said T. Daneshmand, MD, FACOG
Dr. Said Daneshmand of San Diego Fertility Center is an internationally recognized fertility specialist with extensive experience in providing third-party reproductive services. Dr. Daneshmand serves on the board of several surrogacy advocacy groups. He has collaborated to develop in vitro fertilization (IVF) protocols to improve pregnancy rates, including PTEC (post-thaw extended culture), which is one of the most successful IVF regimens currently available. These groundbreaking findings were published in the internationally respected medical journal, Fertility and Sterility, where Dr. Daneshmand also served as a reviewer. Dr. Daneshmand completed his fellowship and residency at UCLA. He is specialty board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and sub specialty board certified in Reproductive Endocrinology. Among his achievements, Dr. Daneshmand is the recipient of numerous awards including the Eileen Pike Medical School Valedictorian Award and the PCRS Fellowship and Practicing Physician Research Award. He has served as the President of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society (Iota Chapter) and is a member of the Decherney Society, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE). Dr. Daneshmand speaks French, Spanish and Farsi.
Giuseppina La Delfa
Giuseppina La Delfa, Italo-French, has been a lesbian activist since 2000. In 2005, along with several other families, she founded the association “Famiglie Arcobaleno” for homosexual parents and was president from 2005 to 2015. In March 2016, she became a board-member of the Network of European LGBTQI Families Associations (NELFA) and vice-president in June 2017. Her political activities include promoting homosexual parenting, creating debates, promoting visibility, participating in research and organising conferences, in order to obtain social dignity and equal rights for homosexual parents and their children in not only Italy but throughout Europe. Giuseppina and her partner fought for years for their French marriage to be recognised in Italy. In January 2017, the Italian supreme court recognized their marriage and asked the mayor of where they are resident to register it with the civil office. Giuseppina and her partner have two children and have been fighting for the recognition in Italy of their French birth certificates which names both mothers.
Prof. Dr. Sven Eggermont
Sven Eggermont studied law at the University of Antwerp, where he earned his Master’s degree in 2008 and his PhD in family law in 2015. He teaches family law in Brussels (Odisee) since 2012 and he has tought courses in family law as a visiting professor at the University of Ghent (2015-16) and Antwerp (2016-17). Sven is a member of the editorial board of a leading Belgian Family Law review and has contributed to numerous publications and lectures. Given the focus in his academic career, as an attorney, Sven has a particular expertise in family law and family property law, both in a national as in an international context.
Wilma studied at the Free University in Amsterdam and graduated in Civil Law and in International Law in 1980. She became a Clerk at the District Court in Amsterdam in the Family Division and in the Division of the Court’s President. She was sworn in as a lawyer in 1987 and is partner at Advocatenkantoor De Binnenstad in Amsterdam since then. Her areas of expertise were immigration and asylum law as well as family law. In the last decade she became specialized in legal aspects concerning children born in non-traditional families, i.e. children of lesbian and gay couples and children born via ART. She also speaks at conferences and meetings regarding this topic. In 2014 she was nominated as a member of the Government Advisory Commission to Reconsider Legal Parenthood. The mandate of this Commission is to advice the Dutch Government on new regulations regarding multiple parenthood and custody and surrogacy. In May 2015 she will be one of the speakers on the ABA Spring Conference.
Didier is a trained historian and teacher. Didier and his husband Eric and are the proud fathers of two children born through surrogacy in the United States. Didier has been active with the Belgian non profit association "Homoparentalités" since 2008 and currently serves on its board.
Alongside of pursuing with fervor the main goals of the association such as welcoming and supporting all current and prospective same sex parents in every possible way, Didier is very interested in helping to advance the debate and the legislative issues surrounding surrogacy in Europe and in Belgium.
Victoria Ferrara, Esq.
Victoria Ferrara is the Founder and Legal Director of Worldwide Surrogacy Specialists, LLC, a successful surrogacy matching agency, through which she has helped many couples and individuals have children. One of her achievements is the landmark decision of Raftopol v. Ramey, 12 A.3d 783 299 Conn. 681 (2011), a Connecticut Supreme Court case that essentially created a new way to establish legal parentage in Connecticut, i.e., by being a party (Intended Parent) to a valid gestational agreement regardless of genetic connection to the child to be born to the gestational surrogate. Attorney Ferrara appears frequently in courts throughout the State of Connecticut for all matters in involving assisted reproduction law, pre-birth orders, and adoptions, including co-parent and step-parent adoption matters. She is a member of the Academy of Assisted Reproductive Law Attorneys, the Family Law Institute, the National Gay and Lesbian Bar Association, the Connecticut Bar Association, and the Greater Bridgeport Bar Association..
Jean-Raphaël is a parent through surrogacy, public sector employee, administrator of the French Union Family Affairs, engineer, civil protection expert, and activist who has been involved in the voluntary sector for nearly 20 years, before becoming a self-taught specialist in the field of surrogacy. He is a member of the French Association of Gay and Lesbian Parents and Future Parents (APGL), where he acts as the surrogacy national referent, coordinator of french antennas, and is responsible for the training committee. Jean-Raphaël is the author of a multidisciplinary book about surrogacy oriented to the general public, scheduled for publication in the second half of 2017. The book is comprised of two parts. The first is devoted to different perspectives of experts in their fields. The second part offers a surrogacy glossary describing more than 230 related terms.
Jens and his husband are a German couple who had their daughter and son in two different surrogacy journeys in the USA. The couple are among the first gay German couples to have had children from surrogacy, and were featured in a documentary by ARD, Germany’s public broadcasting corporation. Jens is also the founder and Chairman of VFLLD, an association in Germany to support legalization of surrogacy through education, events and family support. Furthermore, he talks about the day to day challenges of same sex families with surrogacy kids in his private blog www.greta-henri.family.
Dr. John Norian
Dr. John Norian, double board certified in Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley, his medical degree from the Royal College of Surgeons, completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine program in New York and his fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. His philosophy in helping couples realize their dream of having a family combines both the precision and science of reproductive medicine with a warm and compassionate style of doctoring. Successful fertility treatments involve a high level of scientific knowledge, an advanced embryology lab, and also the ability to warmly develop and carry out a patient-centered treatment plan. He is passionate about helping men achieve their goals of family building. His expertise includes IVF, IVF with donor oocytes, and gestational surrogacy.
Molly O’Brien, Esq.
Molly O’Brien has worked in the field of Assisted Reproduction since 2005. In that time, she worked for an Egg Donation Agency and a Surrogacy Agency where she became familiar with all aspects of In-Vitro Fertilization and Egg Donation, including the financial aspects of surrogacy. Since becoming an attorney in 2011, she has gained extensive experience in drafting and negotiating Surrogacy Contracts, Egg Donation and Sperm Donation Contracts, and Embryo Donation Contracts on behalf of her clients throughout the world. Ms. O’Brien has also appeared before many local Judges to help both domestic and international couples finalize their parental rights, and has extensive experience in obtaining all documents necessary for her couples to return to their home country. As a member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), she serves on the Executive Board of the Legal Professional Group section of ASRM as the Secretary. Additionally, Ms. O’Brien is a member of the ABA A.R.T. committee and SEEDS.
Clélia was sworn in as a lawyer in Paris in January 2004. She created her own legal office in October 2006, working mainly in family law. She has been involved in the fight for gay and lesbian parenting since 2008. With Serge Portelli, a magistrate in Paris, she co-authored the book "Families’ Wishes" ("Désirs de familles") on gay and lesbian parenting, published in April 2012. The legislators are invited there not only to open marriage to non-heterosexual people, but also to think differently and in a global manner about filiation law. Working with many professional couples who are eager to start a family with the help of a gestational carrier, Clélia has developed expertise is numerous legal and social problems posed by the current French legislation, and she has been advocating an intellectually radical change in the way surrogacy is considered.
Steven H. Snyder, Esq.
Steven H. Snyder, Esq., is the founding and principal partner of Steven H. Snyder & Associates, and he is the Director of the International Assisted Reproduction Center, a full-service surrogacy and egg donation agency, both located in the U.S. in Minnesota.
Mr. Snyder is an active leader in numerous professional organizations, including RESOLVE, the American Fertility Association, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, and the American Bar Association Assisted Reproductive Technology Committee. Mr. Snyder is the author of numerous articles and continuing legal education materials. He is also a frequent national and international lecturer and continuing legal education presenter in the area of assisted reproductive technology law. Mr. Snyder regularly contributes to various media interviews and publications as a legal expert in assisted reproduction and third party reproduction legal issues.
Jamie Speer, MS
Jamie Speer, MS is a licensed and certified genetic counselor and program coordinator at Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT) and Gay Parents to Be (GPTB) at RMACT. He counsels egg donors and intended parents on family history and genetic testing issues. He also provides introductory consultations to single men and gay couples interested in egg donation and surrogacy, and has assisted hundreds of male couples over the past ten years. Speer earned his B.S. in Medical Cytogenetic Technology from the University Of Connecticut and then earned his MS in Human Genetics from Sarah Lawrence College.
Leia’s passion for alternative family building began at age sixteen, when she was a birth mother to a daughter placed in an open adoption. Since then, she has had four children of her own – ages 19, 11, 3, and a new baby. She has been a gestational surrogate twice and an egg donor several times. Leia’s approach to surrogacy is simple – taking a holistic approach to ensure that all parties are supported, encouraged and protected. She has made great industry connections and working partnerships with professionals worldwide to ensure that she can help to develop the fertility plan that best suits your needs. Having founded Canadian Fertility Consulting in 2007, she has had the opportunity to help hundreds of couples become parents. Leia’s previous experience as a small business owner and background in management and small business development has helped her grow CFC into Canada’s foremost surrogacy consulting service.
John Weltman, Esq.
John Weltman is the owner, founder and president of Circle Surrogacy and Circle Egg Donation, as well as the Managing Partner of the Weltman Law Group. His vast legal experience includes pre-birth orders and second-parent adoptions. He has and continues to work closely with lawyers and parents from six continents and more than 73 countries to obtain legal recognition of their children in their home countries. John and his husband, Cliff Atkins, began their surrogacy journey in 1991 and have two boys. They are among the first gay couple to have children through surrogacy, and the second couple to have each fathered a biological son. John was also the first to establish couples’ rights for gestational surrogacy insurance coverage in Massachusetts. Numerous publications, TV programs, and conferences throughout the United States, Europe, Canada, China, Australia, and Israel regularly interview John for his expertise and insight regarding surrogacy. John attended Yale University, Oxford University, and the University of Virginia, from which he earned his Bachelor's, Master's and J.D. (law) degrees. He’s licensed to practice law in MA, NY and CA.
Laura Alabre, Events Coordinator and GPAP Case Manager
Laura joined Men Having Babies in February 2017 as the organization was welcoming the fourth “class” of Stage II Gay Parenting Assistance Program (GPAP) recipients. Laura’s responsibilities include Stage II GPAP case management and coordination of the selection and matching process. She also provides support in conference production and coordination. Prior to that she worked at CT Fertility as the Third Party Journey Coordinator, Egg Donor Matching Coordinator as well as a liaison to Israeli patients. Laura has also previously been a known egg donor to several couples all over the world to support their dreams of becoming parents, because having children has been her most treasured life experience. She lives in Connecticut with her two amazing children, Malia and Jordan.
Anthony M. Brown, Esq., Board Chairman
Anthony currently is a senior associate at the law firm of Chianese and Reilly Law,P.C., heading their family and estates law division serving married and unmarried individuals, couples and families. Anthony is the Executive Director of The Wedding Party and has been a Board member since its inception in 1999. Anthony is the founder of TimeForFamilies.com, a web environment dedicated to assisting gay and lesbian couples create their own families. Anthony has worked as a law guardian at The Children’s Law Center, representing the legal needs of children in Brooklyn Family Court. Anthony also worked as a legal intern for Lambda Legal in the summer of 2002. Anthony was appointed as a board member and Secretary of the board of Men Having Babies upon its incorporation in July 2012 and has served as Board Chairman since 2013.
Lisa Pollice, Director of Operations
Lisa joined MHB in March 2017. Lisa resides with her family in Kansas City, MO. Her career began in administration and accounting in the private sector, then transitioned into development and event management in the not for profit sector for such organizations as AIDS Walk, March of Dimes and Susan G Komen. Lisa brings her year of experience here to serve as our new Director of Operations - working primarily to produce our bi-monthly events, as well as to lend her expertise in administration in the day to day operation of our staff.
Ron Poole-Dayan, Board Member / Executive Director
Ron is the executive director and founding board member of Men Having Babies. He has over 20 years of experience in marketing and business strategy development both in the USA and internationally. Ron earned his Masters degree in political economy and comparative politics from Columbia University, and his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Ron is married to Greg Poole-Dayan, the COO of the Wartburg, a leading provider of senior healthcare and residential services in NY. The couple met in 1994, and is among of the first same-sex couples in the nation to father children through gestational surrogacy. The twins, born in 2001, were conceived with the use of eggs donated by Greg's sister, and carried by a gestational carrier. Ron has been the MHB program coordinator since 2005, and was appointed as the Executive Director of Men Having Babies upon its incorporation in July 2012.
Georges Sylvestre, M.D., Board Member
Georges Sylvestre is an Obstetrician/Gynecologist specialized in High-Risk Pregnancies, currently Chairman of OBGYN at Flushing Hospital Medical Center in Queens. Georges and his husband David Margolis live in Manhattan, and are the proud fathers of Tristan and Noah, born in 2010 and 2013 via gestational surrogacy. Having grown up in France, Canada and Switzerland, the Sylvestre-Margolis boys speak French and English at home, and has traveled extensively across the world, making a point of meeting other LGBT gay couples raising children. Georges' profession and personal experience give him a unique advantage in understanding the medical, psychological, ethical and financial challenges of the IP/couple –egg donor – Gestational surrogate triad.
Guy Ringler, M.D.
In clinical practice for over twenty years, Dr. Guy Ringler has developed a large international referral practice due to his excellent patient rapport and expertise in IVF, surrogacy, and gay family building. As one of the world’s first fertility doctors to help gay men become fathers through egg donation and surrogacy, Dr. Ringler has been recognized by the American Fertility Association (AFA) with an Achievement Award. He regularly lends his voice to the public conversation about gay family-building as a spokesperson for GLAAD and a contributor to the Huffington Post. Dr. Ringler has worked closely with the AFA to increase public awareness of fertility options for people with HIV, and he has helped many HIV-positive people have children through assisted reproduction. Dr. Ringler is on the advisory board of Men Having Babies and lives in Los Angeles with his husband, Mark Rios.
Dr. Brooke Friedman has been honored with numerous awards, including selection as a San Diego Top Doctor in infertility for the past two years, a recognition awarded to only a select few physicians. Dr. Friedman is double-board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. She graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University, and earned her medical degree from the University of California San Francisco. She completed her Obstetrics and Gynecology residency and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility fellowship at Stanford University. At San Diego Fertility Center, Dr. Friedman offers a broad range of fertility treatments, and specializes in IVF, donor eggs and gestational surrogacy. She has earned a reputation for delivering high success rates as well as warm, personalized care to each and every patient. Dr. Friedman is committed to assisting individuals in the LGBT community achieve their dreams of family building.
Rebecca Silver dreams of changing the world with better genetic screening. She is a founding member of GenePeeks, a genetic information company that analyzes DNA from the egg donor and sperm source, to provide the most comprehensive assessment of potential genetic risks. She is energized by understanding client needs and delivering experiences that inspire loyalty and advocacy. She received a B.A in Cultural Anthropology from Princeton University, with a focus on gender, sexuality, and reproduction
Juan Tecles is the European Director for CT Fertility. Based in Barcelona and leading a team of 3 local representatives, his role is focused on supporting the journeys of all European IPs with CT Fertility and its partner agencies and attorneys. Juan has been working for the clinic for the past three and a half and is father of two year old twins through surrogacy.
Kathryn is co-owner and co-director of Agency for Surrogacy Solutions and Egg Donor Solutions. Before Kathryn became an agency owner and leading expert in the field of surrogacy, egg donation, infertility and traveling for treatment – she encountered her own struggles to become a mother. Four years, 6 fresh IVFs, 3 frozen embryo transfers, an egg donor, sperm donor, over 100 embryos and 2 Gestational Surrogates later, Kathryn and her (now ex) husband became the proud parents of identical twin boys in 2003. She and her business partner (Lauri de Brito) opened their agency in 2004 hoping to help others have a smoother, shorter, less turbulent journey. The have successfully helped hundreds of people all over the world become parents. Kathryn is a member of PVED, RESOLVE, ASRM, SEEDS and ESHRE, and has appeared in many media outlets around the world.
Nir lives in Toronto, Canada with his partner Bob. He has assisted singles and couples throughout their surrogacy journeys, as well as several of his friends in different countries which has opened his eyes to the many challenges intended parents are facing to create their families.
Nir's background is in business improvement and marketing however after seeing first hand the obstacles international IP's endure, he felt that his mission and passion is to bring the awareness of the Canadian surrogacy option to IP's seeking alternative options. He has now dedicated his life to support IP's around the world to have a smooth and straight-forward journey in Canada. Alongside Dr. Librach and The CReATe Fertility Centre, he has now established 'Babies Come True', a concierge service for CReATe international IP's that will help and support their whole surrogacy journey. Nir and his husband are currently going through the process of surrogacy in Canada themselves and love to share their story.
John Chally, J.D. is one of the Directors and Founders of Northwest Surrogacy Center, LLC. He has 20 years of experience as a surrogacy attorney, with a focus on securing the legal relationships between intended parents and their children. He also has nearly 40 years of experience practicing in the areas of adoption and adoption litigation. He has a Martindale-Hubbell rating of AV Preeminent, indicating the highest level of professional excellence and ethical standards, and is ranked as a Super Lawyer. He is a member of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys.
One of the early promoters of open adoption, John is a former member of the State of Oregon Task Force on Adoption Services and the Oregon Law Foundation Adoption Committee. In 1985 he co-founded Open Adoption & Family Services, Inc., one of the largest adoption agencies in the Pacific Northwest. He has published numerous articles and book chapters on adoption and frequently speaks at adoption seminars.
Megan founded Surro Connections after seeing first-hand the need for this unique company both Domestic and Internationally. Megan is directly involved with every Intended Parent and Surrogate Mother who becomes a part of Surro Connections. Megan is the mother of 3 beautiful children, 1 born through IVF and has been a Gestational Surrogate for other three families as well. Her experience in deeply rooted careers after graduating with her MBA in both Business Administration and Accounting were not nearly as fulfilling as the work she does today with each individual involved in Surro Connections. She has also met all qualifications to be a Mediator within the State of Oregon.