The 2018 Brussels conference on
Parenting options for European gay men
September 22-23, 2018
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.
Henny Bos, PhD
Henny Bos is Full Professor at the Research Institute of Child Development and Education (the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands). The title of Dr. Bos Chair is “Sexual and Gender Diversity in Families and Youth”, and she has been conducting a longitudinal study of Dutch lesbian families, is co-investigator of the US National Lesbian Longitudinal Family Study (NLLFS; P. I. Dr. Nanette Gartrell) and the Dutch P.I of an European study on gay fathers who became parent through surrogacy (P. I. European project: Prof. Dr. Michael Lamb).
Sanne Buursink-de Graaf
Mrs Sanne Buursink-de Graaf is one of the founders of A New Way, a Dutch adoption organization set up by experienced adoptive parents that have adopted from the USA. The USA is one of the only countries that allows same sex couples to adopt. Sanne and her husband adopted two children from Tampa Florida USA. She has a degree in social studies and she prior worked as a (business) consultant, was responsible for the department of Economical Development and international affairs at the Chamber of Commerce in The Netherlands and owned her own business during the time she and her husband became an adoptive family. One of her motivations to found ANW was that she firmly believes that same sex couples should have the opportunity to provide forever families for children in need. In her spare time she has always been actively involved in charity work.
Stephanie Caballero, Esq has represented thousands of clients from all over the world in Surrogacy, Egg, Sperm, and Embryo Donation arrangements. Stephanie has appeared on various programs and in print media including the Today Show, HuffPost Live, ABC News, Fox 5 San Diego, BBC Mundo, The Daily Beast, In Touch Magazine, The Bakersfield Californian, The Examiner, Creating a Family radio program, NPR, The Los Angeles Times, The Union Tribune and the L.A. Daily Journal. After eight years of treatments including more than 10 IUIs, three surgeries, three miscarriages, and 13 IVF procedures, Stephanie finally realized her dream of having children when a surrogate carried her twins. Stephanie is a member of the American Bar Association, San Diego Bar Association, and American Society of Reproductive Medicine, serving on the board of its Legal Professional Group. Stephanie also serves on the board of Parents Via Egg Donation (PVED).
Maître Catherine Clavin
Me Catherine CLAVIN est avocate au barreau de Marseille depuis plus d’une 20 aine d’années et exerce principalement en droit de la Famille et en droit du travail. Elle a co-fondé l’AARPI Clavin-Richard avec Me Clelia RICHARD, avocate au barreau de Paris, cabinet d’avocats dont l’objectif affiché est de conseiller les particuliers et défendre les intérêts des familles formées grâce aux techniques de médecine reproductive. Membre de la Commission Juridique de l’Association des Parents et futurs parents Gay et Lesbiens (APGL) depuis plusieurs années, Catherine CLAVIN a également co-fondé l’Association Française des Avocats LGBT+ (AFALGBT+) dont elle est aujourd’hui la secrétaire.
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.
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.
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 was one of the speakers on the ABA Spring Conference.
Marc and his boyfriend have 5-year-old twins and a 2-year-old boy with the help of two surrogate moms and an egg donor from the USA. For 6 years he is a board member at the Dutch foundation “Meer dan Gewenst”. This non-profit organization is active in Holland for LGBT families and intended mothers and fathers. They are committed to help lesbians, gay men and bisexuals who have chosen to have children within their relationship. At the informational meetings they welcome almost 1000 intended parents a year. Meer dan Gewenst also closely follows developments concerning gay/lesbian parenthood in Holland. By means of contacts with Dutch politicians they try to put this topic on the agenda. For instance, the legal situation of families with multiple parents and surrogacy are their priorities at this moment. Marc started the first male meetings for gays who intend to have kids and he was the driving force in the first family boat at the Amsterdam Canal Pride this year. Marc and his surrogate mom were also one of the speakers at the main program at the first MHB conference in 2015.
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..
Founder and medical director of Fertility Specialists of Texas, Dr. Jerald S. Goldstein is a native Texan who received his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas. He is board certified in both obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive endocrinology and infertility. Dr. Goldstein was an assistant professor in the division of reproductive endocrinology at Washington University Medical Center, St. Louis. He has presented before numerous medical conferences and published in such peer-reviewed journals as Fertility and Sterility and Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Goldstein is a member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Society of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. Dr. Goldstein has repeatedly been recognized by peers and patients alike as a leader in his field. He has been voted a Best Doctor in D Magazine, as well as listed as a top doctor in several publications including Texas Monthly’s annual list of Super Doctors.
Virginia Hart has been an insurance broker for the past 24 years, the last 16 years specializing in insurance for all aspects of assisted reproduction. As owner of ART Risk Financial and Insurance Solutions, Inc. she remains current on insurance issues pertinent to the field and works with her clients to find the best solution, whether it be through commercial insurance, specialty products, or financial case management. Licensed in all 50 states, this allows her to work with clients regardless of location to find the best solution. With a BA in Communication Studies from University of California, Los Angeles and her extensive breadth of knowledge, Virginia often speaks at numerous conferences because of her expertise in Assisted Reproductive Technology insurance.
Diane Hinson, Esq.
Diane Hinson, a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, founded Creative Family Connections LLC on the principle that “everyone can build a family.” After starting her own family as a single mother, Diane built a full-service surrogacy agency and reproductive rights law firm that is consistently one of the highest-ranked agencies in the world. Clients from across the country and around the world choose CFC for the compassionate care and legal expertise that Diane and her team provide. Because of her passion for family equality, Diane has fought to obtain landmark court rulings for same-sex parents. She has opened doors to IVF clinics for gay fathers, drafted and advocated for gay-friendly surrogacy legislation, served as HRC’s pro-bono counsel for surrogacy issues, spoken frequently about surrogacy, and provided surrogacy advice on the well-known Surromoms.com website. She has also collaborated with fellow surrogacy attorneys to develop an in-depth 50-state surrogacy law analysis, which is widely relied upon in the surrogacy world and cited in the media: www.surrogacymap.com.
Jean-Raphaël is the author of a multidisciplinary book about surrogacy oriented to the general public: GPA, l’essentiel pour comprendre, devoted to different perspectives of experts in their fields and the second GPA pour tous, offers a surrogacy glossary describing more than 230 related terms. Jean-Raphaël is a parent through surrogacy, 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 referent, coordinator of French antennas.
Sam Hyde is the President of Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation. Having experienced fertility challenges when starting his own family, Sam understands firsthand the importance of support and help to fulfill dreams of parenthood. Sam and his wife are now blessed with two beautiful girls with the help of IVF. Sam earned his undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and his MBA at the University of Michigan. He then spent time with both Deloitte Consulting and McKinsey & Company helping advise and build a variety of businesses. At Circle, Sam is responsible for the overall management of the business, including meeting with prospective parents during consults. He finds the most joy both in supporting Circle's staff in their own growth and in seeing the many beautiful baby pictures that come across his desk as a result of all the hard work from the team.
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.
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.
For the past 25 years, Jan Silverman has worked in the field of reproductive health; supporting, educating and advocating for those requiring assistance to make their families. Starting off as a grass roots advocate, Jan co-founded the first Canadian infertility support network. After earning a second master’s degree, Jan established and ran the infertility support and education program at women’s college hospital in Toronto for 21 years. Jan was one of 11 experts selected to participate in the provincial expert panel on infertility and adoption. She is now in private practice providing counselling services to the CReATe Fertility Centre. Over the years she has provided services to the Gay Parenting Network, Daddies and Papas To Be and Dykes Having Tykes. Jan created her own family by adopting two (former) children.
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 (IARC), 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.
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.
Prof. Dr. Frederik Swennen
Frederik Swennen is a Full Tenured Professor of (International) Family Law at the University of Antwerp and an of counsel attorney in the private client team within law firm Laga (www.greenille.eu). His fields of interest are national and international family law, including family proceedings and private international law, in which he has an outstanding track record as a researcher and practitioner. His fields of expertise comprise LGBTQI* parents and partners. Frederik will be accompanied for this session by Patrizia Macaluso, who has a leading role in Conflict Handling within Laga’s private client team. She has a vast experience in both litigation and serving private clients. Before joining Laga, she was active in the estate planning services within a leading Private Bank for five years.
Cindy Wasser, LLB
With her unique background as a high profile criminal defence lawyer for almost 30 years and, extraordinary journey as an Intended Parent, Cindy Wasser offers an unparalleled service to Intended Parents, Surrogates and Donors. Her firm, Hope Springs Fertility Law™ is one of the leading firms in Canada with a large international clientele. When the RCMP investigation into ART began in February 2012, Cindy was called upon to provide legal advice to other fertility lawyers, medical practitioners, and consultant agencies. Cindy has lectured about fertility law at medico-legal conferences and at hospitals and is published in a leading medical journal. During her criminal law career she successfully defended high profile cases; published and lectured. Cindy was a founding Director of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted; the Chair of the Criminal Justice Section of the Ontario Bar Association and; a member of many Law Society Committees. Cindy and her husband are parents to two perfectly created daughters with the generous assistance of an ovum donor and two Surrogates.
Andrea is German and an English family law solicitor based in London, England. He is also a father of a toddler born through surrogacy in the US. As a solicitor Andrea has special expertise in international and LGBT family law. He is the author of a textbook on Civil Partnerships in England and has written widely. Andrea has dealt with applying for parental orders for parents through surrogacy in England for many years. Andrea now combines work with being a single father of a demanding toddler. Going through the surrogacy journey himself, he realised how much more complicated it was than he had thought even from his second-hand experience through his clients. Getting his head around the basics of health insurance in the US was a major achievement. Andrea helps run Gay Surrogacy UK Group.
Michael Doyle, MD, board member
Dr. Doyle is the founder of CT Fertility where he served as medical director for 25 years. During that time he was responsible for the successful surrogacy journeys of hundreds of gay men both in the US and abroad, and in his career helped in the creation of over 7,000 babies. He was an early advocate for safe and ethical surrogacy treatment and a strong proponent of non-anonymous egg donation. He also led one of the first and largest frozen donor egg banks in the US. After retiring from clinical practice in 2017, Dr. Doyle now devotes some of his time to several non-profits which are focused on educational access and community development, and he currently plays lead roles in both philanthropic and VC groups which invest in and assist social entrepreneurs around the world. He is thrilled to join the Men Having Babies board and hopes to focus on both development efforts and advocacy initiatives aimed at legalizing surrogacy anywhere where it currently faces opposition.
Shelly Marsh, Marketing Manager
Shelly joined the Men Having Babies team in December 2017 as our Marketing Manager. Her primary focus is help promote our organization while growing the attendance and visibility of our conferences. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and Communications. Prior to joining our team, she worked at a California based fertility clinic as the Marketing Manager for over five years. Shelly is also a three-time surrogate mother to same sex male couples both domestic and international. She lives in Southern California with her wonderful husband and two children.
Frank Nelson, board member
Frank Nelson is a High School Teacher, working with at-risk youth in Toronto, Ontario. Frank received his Bachelor Degree in Architecture from Ryerson University and his Bachelor of Education from the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. Frank and his husband BJ have a son Milo who was born in June 2014 via gestational surrogacy. By some twist of fate, their birth photo went viral, and their surrogacy story was shared around the world. Since then, they have started their own website, familyisaboutlove.com, and they have also written a children's book called Milo's Adventures: A Story about Love, about their surrogacy journey. Frank believes that it is important to teach others about surrogacy, the importance of skin to skin contact and to show the world that family is about love.
Ron Poole-Dayan, board member / executive director
Ron is the executive director and founder 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 are among 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.
Lisa Schuster, GPAP Case Manager
Lisa joined the MHB team in January of 2018 as the Stage II GPAP Case Manager. Lisa’s responsibilities include coordination of the selection and matching process of Stage II candidates, and managing their journeys and budgets until they become parents. Lisa’s professional background is in business development and government contracting, and she also served as treasurer and financial planner for a local non-profit. Lisa was a gestational carrier twice for an international same sex male couple, and she lives with her husband and three children in Maryland.
Sherman L. Taylor II, board member / secretary
Sherman is a technology manager in the Research & Development organization of Procter & Gamble, based in Cincinnati, OH. Sherman received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering and Colloids, Polymers and Surfaces from Carnegie Mellon University. Sherman leads of group of scientists and engineers to create new and improved consumer products; he has worked across a variety of brands in his career including Pampers, Vicks, PuR, Swiffer, Magic Erasers, Bounce and Downy. Sherman also leads the design of corporate training programs to accelerate the growth and development of New Hires upon entering the company. Sherman and his husband Andrew have two sons via surrogacy, born in 2013 and 2017.
Melissa Woodle, Events Manager
Melissa joined MHB as Events Manager in February 2018. Melissa brings vast experience in event production for both private and corporate clientele, across the US and internationally. She studied Business at Indiana University before continuing onto UNC, Greensboro, graduating Summa Cum Laude in Education. Melissa began her career teaching in Title I schools in North Carolina before entering marketing / business development for companies such as Miller Brewing, Coors, & Gallo Wineries. For the past decade, she has been back home in Chicago (Go, Cubs, Go!), working in family office administration. She’s had many exciting opportunities to develop & coordinate broad-scale events, working strategically with venues from board rooms to Soldier Field, with sponsors such as McDonalds, Sotheby's, Ralph Lauren, & McLaren, and proudly partnering with charities like Ronald McDonald House. Melissa is thrilled to bring her skill set to the dynamic events of MHB!
Kristen Hanson is the Co-Owner and Executive Director of Finance and Contracts at Simple Surrogacy. Kristen oversees the financial aspects of Simple Surrogacy, as well as managing the escrow accounts of our clients. Kristen’s legal responsibilities include working with associate attorneys to determine state laws and required legal proceedings; locating separate legal counsel experienced in surrogacy law for Client and Surrogate; review and assist in negotiating the surrogacy contract between Recipient Couple and Surrogate; and overseeing all necessary legal filings and procedures (such as pre-birth orders and step parent adoptions) to establish parental rights for Intended Parents. Kristen’s escrow responsibilities include overseeing the escrow and managing the account; monitoring and authorizing disbursements in accordance with your contract; and sending intended parents itemized monthly statements of the escrow activity. Kristen’s first priority is to make sure all of our client’s money is handled in the most responsible way, that our Surrogates never receive a late payment, and that our clients are assured that their money is well managed. Kristen is an experienced Egg Donor, and has extensive first-hand knowledge of the donation process.
Dr. Brooke Friedman is double-board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. Through her work as a fertility specialist, she has been selected by her peers as a San Diego Magazine “Top Doctor” in 2016, 2017 and again in 2018. She also has been recognized by her patients with several awards, including Vitals’“Patients’ Choice Award,” the “Compassionate Doctor Recognition” award, and the “Top Ten Physicians” award. Dr. Friedman graduated from Princeton University, Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa and earned her medical degree from the University of California San Francisco Medical School, graduating Alpha Omega Alpha at the top of her class. She completed her OB-GYN residency and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility fellowship at Stanford University Medical Center. Dr. Friedman is the author of several published book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals and has presented award-winning research at national meetings. Her scientific areas of interest include: optimizing embryo transfer technique, recurrent pregnancy loss, diminished ovarian reserve, depression treatment, and infertility outcomes. She also speaks French and Spanish.
Nir Keren, originally from Israel now lives in Toronto, Canada with his partner Bob. Nir has assisted several of his friends throughout their surrogacy journeys, 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 improvment 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 in Canada that will help and support international IP's throughout their surrogacy journey. Nir and his husband are currently going through the process of surrogacy in Canada themselves and love to share their story.
Maria Valencia was earning her bachelor’s degree in International Business and raising two boys when she started in the surrogacy industry. The first time Maria helped a couple all the way through their journey, she realized she had found her passion when she saw them hold their precious bundle of joy for the first time. Now in her thirteenth year in the industry Maria has built outstanding relationships with the best resources and has the experience to bring the dream of creating a family to life. The professional staff at ISC, under Maria’s direction, is committed to providing premier customer service and making the process of surrogacy a unique and enjoyable journey. Maria and her team work with her intended parents doctors, IVF clinic staff, attorneys, surrogates. Maria believes in building relationships with honesty, transparency, and communication. Maria founded International Surrogacy Center in 2011, she and her team enjoy building close relationships with their clients and seeing pictures of the families as they grow. Maria recently discovered how she can give back and volunteers at local shelters. ISC is also giving financial support to organizations that care for and find homes for rescued animals.
Tatiana Walton has had the immense pleasure serving as a surrogacy consultant with Extraordinary Conceptions, a leading international surrogacy and egg donor agency. Tatiana’s invaluable role is assisting Portuguese speaking intended parents. Tatiana assists with the very first steps in searching and choosing the right surrogate, up to the final steps for the birth of a baby and its return home to their new, native home with its family. A mother of two children, Tatiana understands what it means to have the “love of a child,” and wants everyone to experience that same unconditional love. Prior to joining the Extraordinary Conceptions team in 2012, she worked at Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP as a project clerk, as well as a paralegal at Dreher and Associates. Tatiana earned her law degree from Mackenzie University School of Law in 1997 and is a licensed attorney with the Brazilian Bar Association.