Men Having Babies Midwest - 2019
Surrogacy Seminar & Gay Parenting Expo
Chicago, April 13-14, 2019
Dr. Juan P. Alvarez is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and completed his fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the University of California, Los Angeles and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Dr. Alvarez completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Emory University School of Medicine and received his medical degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. A native of Colombia and fluent in Spanish, Dr. Alvarez feels a special connection to Latino/Hispanic patients. He is committed to helping, treating, and advocating for the reproductive health of the LGBTQ community with a specific interest in egg donation, sperm donation, and surrogacy. Dr. Alvarez’s published research has centered around topics such as PCOS, miscarriage, the impact obesity has on egg quality, ovarian function, and fertility potential. “As a member of the LGBTQ community, I want to help, treat, and advocate for the reproductive health of the LGBTQ with a specific interest in egg donation, sperm donation and surrogacy. As a native of Colombia, I am fluent in Spanish.”
Angeline N. Beltsos, MD
Dr. Beltsos, CEO and Medical Director of Vios Fertility Institute, is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI), practicing medicine since 1991. She completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Loyola University in 1995 followed by a fellowship in REI at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, completed in 1997. She is also the Clinical Research Division Director of Vios and participates in a number of research projects and scientific publications. She is a popular speaker, both nationally and internationally, and a frequent media resource on the topic of infertility. Dr. Beltsos is the executive chairperson for the Midwest Reproductive Symposium International, an international conference of fertility experts.
Marjorie E. Dixon, M.D.
Dr. Dixon is a graduate of the McGill University’s School of Medicine. Her initial postgraduate training was at the University of Toronto, in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Her passion for reproductive medicine continued during her postgraduate training with a 3-year subspecialty, American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology accredited fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the University of Vermont. Dr. Dixon is an active member of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center and holds the position of Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, where she actively participates in medical student and resident education. She continues to be an invited speaker at both national and international conferences in her field of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility as she continuously advocates for the women’s health and the LGBTQ community.
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.
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.
Elliott Kronenfeld, LICSW, CST is a certified sex therapist and a father through adoption and gestational surrogacy. He has worked in the fields of adoption, gestational surrogacy and family formation for 15 years. He is known around the country as a specialist in fertility, and speaks at various venues about how GLBTQ families are formed and thrive. He is the founder and Clinical Director of Insight Brookline Psychotherapy in the Boston area. His new book, Couples by Intention, is due out by the end of the year.
Rachel Loftspring is a Partner at Essig & Evans, LLP, where she practices Fertility Law exclusively. As a Fertility Law attorney, she counsels clients from the United States and around the world on family-building through surrogacy as well as egg, sperm, and embryo donation. Her clients are intended parents and gestational carriers, recipients and donors, married and single, and of all sexual orientations. Rachel is licensed to practice law in Ohio and Illinois, where she began her career at a large Chicago law firm. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2008 and as a member of the Order of the Coif. Following 7 magnificent years in Chicago, Rachel now lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband Dan, a cardiologist who trained at Northwestern, their 4 year old Lady Gaga loving daughter and their chubby 2 year old son.
Sarah Paige has been in the insurance field for the past 9 years. As COO of ART Risk Financial and Insurance Solutions, Inc., she remains current on all insurance issues pertinent to the ART field and works with her clients to find the best solution, whether it be through commercial insurance, specialty products, or financial case management. With ART Risk Solutions licensed in all 50 states, this allows her to work with clients regardless of location in the U.S. as well as internationally. With her extensive breadth of knowledge and expertise in the Assisted Reproductive Technology insurance industry, Sarah has been requested as a guest lecturer or expert witness with both the American Bar Association Section of Family Law and the Nevada State Assembly. Focusing on offering clients the knowledge to help them better understand their liability exposures and the best available financial risk management solutions is always one of Ms. Paige’s highest priorities.
Susanna Park, MD
World renowned for her fertility expertise, IVF success and excellence in medical care, Dr. Susanna Park has practiced as an infertility physician for the past 15 years. Dr. Park joined the San Diego Fertility Center in 2012 following her tenure at Columbia University in New York City. Her passion is to combine her extensive experience as an infertility physician with individualized care and compassion. Dr. Park is double board-certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. She graduated summa cum laude from Siena College and obtained her medical degree at Albany Medical College. Dr. Park completed her residency and her fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Dr. Park has developed a large international referral practice due to her excellent patient rapport and high success rates with a variety of treatments including IVF, donor eggs, egg freezing and gestational surrogacy. Dr. Park works closely with the leading surrogacy agencies to assist the LGBT community build families.
Heather Ross, Esq.
Heather brings a diverse transactional and litigation practice to Ross & Zuckerman LLP, and a vested, personal interest to fertility issues. Prior to forming Ross & Zuckerman, LLP she worked for the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago representing low-income clients in civil matters, and before that spent three years in private practice engaged in the drafting and negotiation of complex financial transactions. After experiencing several years of personal struggles with fertility, Heather co-founded Ross & Zuckerman LLP in 2005 to focus her legal practice on helping others build families through assisted reproductive technology. The attorneys at Ross & Zuckerman, LLP have represented thousands of clients in gamete donation, embryo donation and gestational surrogacy arrangements. Heather is also a frequent lecturer and writer in the area of ART law. She is a member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (past Chair of the Legal Professional Group), the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys, Family Equality Council, The LGBTQ Bar, SEEDS, Resolve, and the ABA’s ART Committee.
Silvia Schneider Fox, PsyD
Dr. Silvia Schneider Fox is a clinical psychologist and founder of Fertility Resilience, a reproductive psychology practice with offices in the Chicago area. A specialist in the field of reproductive medicine, adoption and family building since 1992, Dr. Fox counsels individuals and couples in various areas of family building, including ART, collaborative reproduction, pregnancy loss, and parenting after infertility. She conducts third party evaluations, facilitates mind/body programs; researches, writes and presents on a variety of topics related to family-building. Dr. Fox has had her own experience with infertility. After undergoing extensive infertility treatment, she and her husband became parents through IVF. Nowadays, she combines her personal, research and clinical experience into one voice, on her Fertility Resilience blog.
Fertility Specialists of Texas physician Daniel A. Skora, M.D., a proud member of the LGBTQ community, is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and is board eligible in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. Dr. Skora graduated cum laude with his Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology with a certificate in neuroscience from Princeton University. After working as a research fellow at the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Skora attended the university of Minnesota medical school where he received his medical degree. Dr. Skora completed his residency at George Washington University Hospital and his fellowship at The Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont. Dr. Skora is passionate about all aspects of infertility. He is dedicated to addressing the unique needs of the whole patient and calls upon his education and experience in psychology to help each one overcome the emotional challenges of trying to conceive. Dr. Skora is a member of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Denise Steele, ART Escrow Consultant at SeedTrust Escrow, has a deep understanding of technology and fertility. She resides in Chicago and became the mother of 3 baby boys thanks to third-party fertility and domestic adoption in 2009. In 2014 she published Hope4Fertility.com, a blog that shares insights and provides support to those facing infertility. She has consulted and freelanced for fertility and parenting organizations which include FertilityAuthority, MommyNearest and Neighborhood Parents Network. She was a Clinic Liaison and Account Strategist for a large, global agency. There she developed affordable offerings that were available through the agency's clinic partners. Having endured infertility, she believes that intended parents should be protected and provided full transparency so they may garner as much control as is possible throughout their journeys. Helping agencies and clinics grow their businesses is something she is passionate about. Providing a secure, online platform that is always available to intended parents, surrogates, clinics and agencies is the tool that offers all of the parties the protection and control they deserve.
Jennifer is the Director of Operations for Colorado Surrogacy, Montana Surrogacy, Texas Surrogacy, New England Surrogacy and New Mexico Surrogacy. She takes great pride in directing her professional and compassionate team as they help families through this intimate and life changing journey. An infertility survivor herself, she feels strongly that everyone deserves the family they desire and strives to make a high stress process as low stress as possible. Jennifer is the mother of one teenage daughter and two fur-babies. Thanks to a spouse in the Air Force, Jennifer has lived in every region of the country as well as Germany and England - and she's been to every state in the U.S. - with the exception of Alaska!
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 Program Manager
Lisa joined the MHB team in January of 2018 as the Stage II GPAP Case Manager, and was later promoted to GPAP Program Manager. Lisa’s responsibilities include development of ongoing partnerships in support of the assistance program, development of practices and initiatives to further the scope and reach of the program, 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, Chairman of the board
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!
Staci Swiderski, CEO and Co-founder of Family Source Consultants has more than 15 years experience in Third Party Reproduction. Staci oversees the company to ensure values are applied consistently from top to bottom, across all departments by implementing the agencies vision, mission and overall direction. Being a former Intended Mother herself, as well as a known egg donor twice, Staci has the passion, knowledge and personal experience related to reproductive medicine and family building. In her free time, Staci enjoys reading, spending time with family, traveling and keeping up with the latest technologies.
Jennifer McArthur is the Director of Case Management for Worldwide Surrogacy, and has a Master's Degree in Social Work. Along with Victoria Ferrara, Esq. who is the founder and legal director of Worldwide Surrogacy, Jen is the first touch point for intended parents, and a primary source of communication throughout the journey. By providing a wealth of information about the matching process, screening of surrogates, insurance matters, as well as many other important details regarding the surrogacy journey. Jen provides ongoing support and case management to intended parents, and supervises other case managers who assist our intended parents with similar matters. In addition, Jen conducts all social work assessments of surrogates and further assists intended parents with the coordination of services. By conducting interviews of all our potential surrogates and working closely with intended parents, her goal is to ensure a good match for all parties involved. Jen is highly dedicated and enthusiastic about making a lasting difference in people's lives throughout their surrogacy journey.
Colleen Wagner-Coughlin is the founder and Director of aParent IVF Laboratory, which provides experienced embryology services for the physicians at Fertility Centers of Illinois. Among them, renowned reproductive endocrinologist Dr. Brian Kaplan has maintained a longstanding relationship with Colleen and performs his cases at aParent IVF. Her expertise and straightforward approach, combined with her ability to personalize each patient’s care has earned recognition and respect from the colleagues and patients with whom she has worked in her more than 30 years as an embryologist. As a strong patient advocate, Colleen has worked to advance IVF in the LGBT community. She has been recognized with the Advocacy Award by Path2Parenthood and was one of the first non-physicians to earn the prestigious Resolve Award for Patient Advocacy. Her work in same sex parent advocacy was recently featured in a series of articles in Chicago’s LGBT newspaper, The Windy City Times. She has also been featured on Windy City Live, Good Morning America, Nightline and in the Chicago Tribune.
Gary Jones, MD
Dr. Jones completed his Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility fellowship at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. He is board certified in Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, and Obstetrics & Gynecology. Dr. Jones has been treating infertility patients for over 20 years. He has been a Clinical Assistant Professor and Lecturer at Michigan State University. His philosophy of care is to offer patients all possible options and empower them in their treatment decisions. He currently practices at Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago.
Robin von Halle
Robin founded ARR 25 years ago, in 1992, having received dual degrees in Psychology and Social Work from Ohio University. Her personal experiences with infertility led her to do extensive research into the available options, which highlighted for her what was missing in the fertility industry. She saw an opportunity to make a difference for other intended parents—to offer them trusted options to grow their families and to serve as an advocate for them throughout the process. ARR has gone on to become one of the premier egg donation and gestational surrogacy agencies in the United States. In her role as CEO, Robin works very closely with intended parents to ensure that they understand the egg donation and surrogacy processes and benefit from her vast experience in the industry. From the time you begin working with ARR through the birth of your baby, Robin and the ARR team remain available to you whenever you need them.
Ilan Tur-Kaspa, MD, FACOG
Dr. Ilan Tur-Kaspa is an internationally known specialist in Reproductive Medicine and Infertility. Together with Dr. David Cohen, the Institute for Human Reproduction has been on the forefront of Assisted Reproductive Technologies in the Chicagoland area since 2004. Today, Dr. Ilan Tur-Kaspa is one of the world’s most experienced Reproductive Specialists involved in advanced IVF/ICSI treatment with PGT and in addition to thousands of reproductive treatments, he personally conducted over 2000 IVF-PGT cycles for patients with single gene disorders, chromosomal translocations, HLA matched child, and for aneuploidy. He is the author and co-author of >100 scientific publications and book chapters. He has been recognized and celebrated throughout his career for continuous scientific contributions in the field of Reproductive Medicine. Dr. Tur-Kaspa believes all patients, regardless of sexual orientation, marital status, or gender, should get full support and attention with the most personalized, successful, and least-invasive treatment available. “Your success is our success” is the motto that Dr. Tur-Kaspa has established for his entire team at IHR.
Dr. Sigal Klipstein
Dr. Klipstein is a sub specialist in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. She is a physician at InVia Fertility Specialists in Chicago, where she also directs the Egg Donor Program. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. She completed both her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology and fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Harvard Medical School. In addition, she completed a fellowship in Medical Ethics at Harvard University. Dr. Klipstein charts the national Ethics Committee of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is Board Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. She is a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Dr. Klipstein has extensive experience working with same sex couples, egg donation and gestational surrogacy. Dr. Klipstein is widely published, having written numerous articles in both medical and ethics journals. She has also authored several book chapters and presented at numerous medical conferences. She is fluent in Spanish and Hebrew.
Mary is the Director of Hope Surrogacy as well as a co-owner along with her partners LeeAnn Schulz and Amy Kothe. Mary’s background is in business having worked in corporate roles as a logistics analyst, corporate facilitator, and in customer service. Over the past 14+ years she has had the joy of helping clients fulfill their dream of having a family through surrogacy. Mary is a native Californian and transplant to Madison, Wisconsin. She is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara in Business Economics, and has been married to her husband, Dave for 30 years. She is also the proud momma of one daughter, Sarah, who lives in Boston, and one son, Graham, who is a recent graduate of Marquette University.
Jered Mercer is the Chief Operations Officer at Family Creations, an international surrogacy and egg donor agency that has been in business for nearly 15 years. Originally from San Diego, Jered now works from the Los Angeles branch of Family Creations. Jered first joined the team in 2012, and he has held nearly every position in the company before taking on his current supervisory role. Over that time, Family Creations has seen extraordinary growth as one of the most trusted agencies globally. By developing an understanding of the specific intricacies involved in LGBT parenting through the help of surrogacy and donor eggs, Jered has been instrumental in Family Creations being amongst the most experienced agencies in the field. Jered is proud to have been such an integral part of this beautiful process for countless LGBT parents over the years, and together with the help of the rest of the Family Creations team, he looks forward to joining many more parents on their family building journeys.
After experiencing her own infertility journey, Leah began working at a local law firm assisting with Assisted Reproductive matters for over five years. Leah was able to help families navigate the complicated world of surrogacy, embryo adoption, egg/sperm donation to see them ultimately fulfill their dreams of becoming parents. Her passion for helping families, sparked by her own experience, inspired her to launch Family Choice Surrogacy. Prior to working in ART, Leah was an accomplished Organizational and Human Resources leader for 15 years in many different industries. She has led many teams and organizations to success. Leah has her B.S. in Organizational Leadership. Leah is a trained birth doula. She is currently pursuing her CD (birthing doula) and PCD (postpartum doula) certifications to assist our surrogates and parents with the birthing and bonding processes. Leah also volunteers as a Fruitful Fertility mentor to lend an ear and help make a difference for those suffering with infertility.