The 13th Annual NY Men Having Babies
Surrogacy Seminar & Gay Parenting Expo
November 12, 2017
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..
Gerald S. Goldstein, M.D.
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, most recently in 2016, as well as listed as a top doctor in several publications including Texas Monthly’s annual list of Super Doctors.
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.
John Hesla, MD
John S. Hesla, MD is one of the most-respected and experienced physicians helping LGBTQ intended parents build their families through egg donor surrogacy. He joined Oregon Reproductive Medicine in 1999 as the co-founder of its groundbreaking IVF program — helping to build one of the first embryology laboratory clean rooms in the world. Dr. Helsa is internationally recognized for his innovative methods for treating infertility, and for his overall tenacity and dedication to helping patients achieve their dream of a successful pregnancy. Prior to joining ORM, Dr. Hesla was director of IVF and head of reproductive surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Hesla is globally recognized by the LGBTQ community for his compassionate approach and consistent success. Dr. Hesla has been instrumental in setting ORM’s high standards for our medically screened Donor Egg Program, as well as for surrogates and their comprehensive medical screening.
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.
Mark P. Leondires, M.D.
Dr. Mark P. Leondires is Medical Director and Partner at Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT) and Gay Parents To Be. He is board-certified in both Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. Prior to joining RMACT, he served as the Director of Assisted Reproductive Technologies at the Combined Federal Program for Reproductive Endocrinology. During this time he was an Assistant Professor at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences and clinical faculty for the Combined Fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology. He received his undergraduate degree from Colby College. He earned his medical degree from the University Of Vermont College Of Medicine. He completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine followed by a fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. His professional society memberships include the Society of Reproductive Endocrinologists, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
Susanna Park, M.D.
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.
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.
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.
Michelle Pine, board member, chair of the Surrogates Advisory Committee
Michelle Pine is a special education teacher for students with mild disabilities at an alternative high school in Klamath Falls, Oregon, having previously taught special education and Language Arts in Portland. Michelle holds two Masters in Education from Concordia University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Eastern Oregon University. When not working, Michelle enjoys reading and writing and spending time with her family exploring Oregon. Michelle was a gestational surrogate for a same-sex couple from Israel in 2015, and has recently begun a second journey with a serodiscordant couple from San Francisco. She and her husband have three amazing children, all who played an important role in her first surrogacy journey and are equally excited about the next one.
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.
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 a son via surrogacy, born in 2013.
Michael Wetson, board member / treasurer
Michael is co-owner and Director of Professional Service Delivery for Inscio, LLC, a Dallas-based consulting firm specializing in connecting information with people via NetSuite and other leading solutions. Michael Wetson’s first experience with surrogacy began as he and his husband Shawn started their journey in 2012. Their twins, Olivia and Sawyer, were born via an anonymous egg donor and Gestational Surrogate in 2013. When not chasing the twins around the house or resolving employee and customer requests, Michael and Shawn enjoy running (or napping, whichever task wins the toss). Michael is a graduate of the University of Kansas, has mentored several gay couples as they began their own journey, and has been an outspoken advocate for gay families for the past several years.
Samuel C. Pang, M.D.
Dr. Samuel Pang is the Medical Director at IVF New England (a Boston IVF partner), an award-winning fertility center in Massachusetts. Dr. Pang and his husband have two sons conceived through IVF with donor eggs and gestational surrogacy, so he fully appreciates the process of IVF with donor eggs and gestational surrogacy from both the patient and clinical perspectives. Since 1996, Dr. Pang has led IVF New England’s Third Party Reproduction Program, which provides IVF for patients who need to use donor eggs and/or a gestational surrogate. He has been treating gay male couples with IVF using donor eggs and gestational surrogacy since 1998, and has since treated dozens of gay male couples successfully. Additionally, he has been recognized by Boston magazine as Top Doctor in the field of infertility for three consecutive years. Dr. Pang completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Toronto and received his fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the UCLA School of Medicine.
Stephanie Scott is the Executive Program Director at Simple Surrogacy. Stephanie is responsible for the initial screening of all Intended Parents, Surrogates, and Egg Donors who apply with our program. She reviews all new applicant profiles, records, references, insurance policies, and ensures all applicant background investigations have been completed and cleared before matching within our program (investigation includes a search of both Federal and State criminal records, as well as a Residential History and Social Security Verification). She also ensures that the surrogates in our program have optimal medical coverage to cover the pregnancy and delivery and arranges for all parties to obtain a life insurance policy.
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.
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.
Dean Hutchison, Esq.
Dean Hutchison is Director of Legal Services for Circle Surrogacy and Vice Chairman of the American Bar Association’s Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Richmond and his law degree from Suffolk University. Prior to working with Circle Surrogacy, he was an attorney at Lawson & Weitzen in Boston, Massachusetts for six years. Dean has managed hundreds of ART matters over the course of his career and has organized and presented on many panels on the legal aspects of surrogacy and egg donation. He has been named a Rising Star in Massachusetts Super Lawyer and Boston Magazine every year since 2009.
Clifford Librach, M.D.
Dr. Librach is the founder and Director of the CReATe Fertility Centre and CReATe Cord Blood Bank (Toronto, Canada). He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Toronto. He served as Division Head of Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Women’s College Hospital for 23 years. Dr. Librach has been the Chair of Ontario Medical Association Reproductive Biology since 2004. He co-founded the Canadian Fertility and Andrology (CFAS) IVF Improvement Committee. He has been interviewed extensively on ART-related topics in the national and international media. Dr. Librach is the pioneer and leader in the field of the third party reproduction and runs the largest egg donation and gestational surrogacy program in Canada. He has published over 60 peer-reviewed original publications including an analysis of the medical, psychosocial and legal issues involved in surrogacy program; as well as the largest published series on assisted reproduction for the same-sex male couples and single men.
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.
Brad Spencer is co-owner and co-founder of Same Love Surrogacy, a full service gay owned and operated egg donor and surrogacy agency based in West Hollywood, CA. Brad partnered with close friends Jay Cook and Danny Wong for the inspiration of Same Love Surrogacy – the personal experience of three gay dads who created their families via surrogacy and egg donation. What all this personal experience taught us is that more and more LGBTQ individuals are seeking to become parents via assisted reproductive technology, and we want to assist intending parents through their journey to parenthood will giving back to the LGBTQ community. Brad was born, raised and resides with his husband and two twin boys in Los Angeles, California. He has worked as a successful investment professional for nearly 20 years. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Finance from California State University Northridge (CSUN). Brad’s hobbies include tennis, golf, travel, and spending time with his family. Brad is also an active supporter and volunteer for The Trevor Project, a national non-profit organization dedicated to preventing suicide among LGBTQ youth.
Dr. Melvin Thornton II is the Acting Medical Director & Director, Donor Egg Program at CT Fertility. Dr. Thornton has deep expertise in the areas of IVF, surrogacy and donor egg, fertility preservation and male infertility. He recognizes the stressful nature of infertility treatment and brings a compassionate touch to every interaction. Known for his calm demeanor, his patients frequently describe him as a reassuring and personable physician who truly cares. Prior to joining CT Fertility, he spent 15 years with the Columbia University IVF program where he held many leadership posts, including Medical Director of its Westchester campus and Director of the donor egg program. In addition to his practical medical experience, he has devoted countless hours to sharing his passion for RE by teaching and mentoring medical students, fellows, and residents as an Associate Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Columbia. Dr. Thornton has published more than 30 papers, written several book chapters and presented nearly 40 abstracts at professional conferences.