The 2018 Brussels conference on
Parenting options for European gay men

September 22-23, 2018

Full conference program

Saturday, September 22, 2018

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Registration: 14:00-14:30 (Ballroom Floor, foyer)
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Overview of parenting options available to European gay men, including surrogacy and adoption options in the USA and Canada: 14:30-14:45 (Ballroom Floor, room 8)
Introductions and an overview of surrogacy and adoption options for European gay men.
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Personal stories panel: 14:45 - 15:45 (Ballroom Floor, room 8)
Hear the diverse personal experiences of several gay surrogacy dads and surrogates.

Panelists include:

Lisa Schuster
Lisa was a gestational carrier twice for a French same sex male couple. Lisa is also the Stage II GPAP Case Manager at Men Having Babies. 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 lives with her husband and three children in Maryland.

Jauffrey Lanszen
Jauffrey and Christophe have been together for 14 years and married in 2016. They turned to surrogacy in 2017. They now have twins Charlotte and Valentin born in California, USA. They stayed only 15 days after the birth of the twins in the United States because the official documents been ready in one week and because the twins were healthy and able to make the journey. Every month Jauffrey and Christophe participate in their region in France on the GPA to share their experience with future dads.

Molly Corcoran
Molly just completed her first surrogacy journey this summer for two amazing guys from Belgium. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and three children.

Frank Pinxten
Frank and his husband Willy are from Belgium, they turned to surrogacy in the US to build their family. With the help of Molly they are now proud parents of a baby boy through gestational surrogacy.

Clay Hagland
Clay and Tom are partners of eleven years who met in Sydney and are now based in London. They worked with a gestational surrogate in California named Samantha who gave birth to their now three year old son Baxter. Clay, Tom and Baxter spent 7 weeks in San Diego after having Baxter before returning to London. The couple have maintained a close relationship with Samantha and they all hope to work together again in the future to produce a baby brother or sister for Baxter.
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Jauffrey and Christophe with their babies.

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Tom, Clay and baby Baxter.

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Coffee Break: 15:45 - 16:15
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A mindful look at surrogacy - Psychological and Ethical aspects: 16:15-17:30 (Ballroom Floor, room 8)
In this session we will examine how we feel about surrogacy: the meanings and significance people tend to attribute to surrogacy in their lives, with a special focus on surrogates’ perspective. We will look at questions such as:
  • What are the dominant social perceptions of surrogacy in the U.S. and Canada? How are they different than the perceptions in Europe?
  • How do surrogates understand their experiences?
  • What are the roots for concerns about exploitation and commodification in surrogacy?
  • What are the experiences of children born via surrogacy?
We will present recent research on surrogacy, and evidence from studies about the way surrogacy affects the the welfare of the child, the surrogate, and her family. We will also look at programs meant to encourage a more mindful surrogacy experience, such as MHB's Framework for Ethical Surrogacy.

Moderator: Ron Poole-Dayan, surrogacy father, executive director of MHB

Speakers / Panelists:
  • Henny Bos, PhD, Professor, Research Institute of Child Development and Education, University of Amsterdam.
  • Jan Silverman, Ph.D. / CReATe Fertility Centre (Canada).
  • Lisa Schuster, surrogate mother and MHB’s GPAP case manager.
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Planning your parenting journey: 17:30 -18:45 (Ballroom Floor, room 8)
Surrogacy fathers from the USA and Europe will lead a comprehensive surrogacy workshop that was developed based on the accumulated knowledge of hundreds of gay men who have already gone through the process. In the first part we will go over the various surrogacy arrangements available for gay men, and prepare you to make the basic decisions regarding your surrogacy journey. Topics covered will include:
  • Basic terminology, types and components of typical surrogacy arrangements.
  • Typical sequence and timeline for gestational surrogacy journeys.
  • Major decisions that shape the surrogacy journey.
  • Considering your family vision, financial constraints, risk tolerance and ethical preferences.
  • Known vs. anonymous egg donations.
  • Ethical best practices.
On the second part of this session, a representative of “A New Way” will offer a presentation about the possibility of adopting children from the USA.
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Light Supper/Networking: 18:45-19:15 (Ballroom Floor, room 8)
Sponsored by Worldwide Surrogacy Specialists
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Picking providers, budgeting and financial assistance (GPAP): 19:15 - 20:30 (Ballroom Floor, room 8)
Peer advice will be offered on selecting ethically reputable surrogacy service providers, cost saving tips, and resources for financial support. Topics covered will include:
  • Where to start (agency, clinic, surrogate or donor).
  • Selecting an agency and clinic.
  • Estimated costs, and factors that affect costs.
  • Cost saving best practices.
  • Financial help through the Gay Parenting Assistance Program (GPAP).

20:30 - Happy Hour

Join us at 'C'est ma tournée' bar (Rue du Lombard 2) to close the evening with a social gathering. This casual time will be a great opportunity to discuss the information from the day’s sessions as well as network with other parents, intended parents and professionals. Hosted by Homoparentalités ASBL.

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

Free admission - open to members of the LGBT community


Sunday, September 23, 2018

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Registration: 8:30-9:00 (Ground Floor, lobby)
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Country-specific expert panels: 9:00 -10:00 (France: room 8, Netherlands: room 1, Germany / rest of Europe: room 2, Belgium: room 15-16-17 - first floor)
This session will provide in-depth advice for prospective parents in four different groups: Belgians, Dutch, French, Germans and European in general (from the UK, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, etc.). The sessions will be facilitated by experienced surrogacy parents from the various countries. Panelists will include American and European legal experts to discuss how parental rights can be established in the USA, and specific legal arrangements needed for each country in order to bring the babies back, and to secure residency and parental rights in each country.

Legal experts
  • Attorney Wilma Eusman / The Netherlands
  • Maître Catherine Clavin / France
  • Prof. dr. Frederik Swennen / Universiteit Antwerpen / Greenille by Laga Attorneys
  • Andrea Woelke / A German and an English family law solicitor based in London
  • Stephanie Caballero / Surrogacy Law Center
  • Diane Hinson / Creative Family Connections
  • Molly O’Brien, Esq. / Law Offices of Molly O’Brien
  • Steve Snyder, Esq. / International Assisted Reproduction Center (IARC)
  • Cindy Wasser / Hope Springs Fertility Center
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Break: 10:00-10:30
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Expert Panel: Medical Aspects of Surrogacy 10:30 - 12:00 (Ballroom Floor, room 8)
The medical screening of future fathers, egg donors and surrogates, the creation of optimal embryos, and the IVF process. Sponsored by American Fertility Services.

Moderator: Michael Doyle, MD / MHB board

- John Norian, MD
/ HRC Rancho
- Guy Ringler, MD

/ California Fertility Partners
- Said Daneshmand, MD

/ San Diego Fertility Center
- Jerald Goldstein, MD
/ Fertility Specialists of Texas
Brandon Bankowski, MD
/ Oregon Reproductive Medicine
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Lunch / Gay Parenting Resource Fair: 12:00 - 13:30 (Ballroom Floor - foyer, rooms 10-11)
Enjoy a buffet lunch and explore the resource fair of Gay Parenting Services (rooms 10-11) - more than twenty tables where you can meet and receive information from leading clinics, surrogacy and adoption agencies, lawyers and supporting community organizations. The fair will continue until 16:30.
Lunch is sponsored by San Diego Fertility Center.
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Breakout sessions - come meet the sponsors: 13:30 - 15:30 (Ballroom Floor and First Floor - see table)
Attendees will have the opportunity to take part in up to 6 introductory 20-minute group consultations with the various providers. Take advantage of this opportunity to get to know these agencies and clinics more closely. See the "Breakout Sessions" table for a list and schedule. The Gay Parenting Resource Fair will also continue to be available during this period.

Room 1

Room 2

Room 14

Room 15-16-17

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13:30 - 13:48
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Diane Hinson, Esq.
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Said Daneshmand, MD
Brooke Friedman, MD
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Guy Ringler, MD
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Victoria Ferrara, Esq.
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13:50 - 14:08
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Diane Hinson, Esq.
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Said Daneshmand, MD
Brooke Friedman, MD
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Sam Hyde
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Victoria Ferrara, Esq.
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14:10 - 14:28
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Maria Valencia
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Brandon Bankowski, MD, MPH
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Sam Hyde
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Leia Swanberg
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14:30 - 14:48
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Maria Valencia
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Brandon Bankowski, MD, MPH
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Tatiana Walton & Stephanie Caballero
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Kristen Hanson
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14:50 - 15:08
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John Norian, MD
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Nir Keren
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Tatiana Walton & Stephanie Caballero
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Steve Snyder, Esq.
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15:10 - 15:30
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John Norian, MD
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Nir Keren
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Jerald Goldstein, MD
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Virginia Hart
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Resource fair & networking reception: 15:30 - 16:30 (Ballroom Floor - room 10-11)
Prospective parents, parents (&children!), activists, psychologists, social workers, researchers and other professionals are invited to network and exchange perspectives over light refreshments. The Gay Parenting Resource Fair will run in parallel.
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Expert Panel: Budgeting and Insurance 16:30-17:30 PM (Ballroom Floor, room 8)
A closer look at medical insurance and surrogate compensation packages.

Moderator: Ron Poole-Dayan / MHB board

- Victoria Ferrera
/ Worldwide Surrogacy Specialists
- Virginia Hart
/ Art Risk
- Leia Swanberg
/ Canadian Fertility Consulting
- Sam Hyde
/ Circle Surrogacy

Q&A Session

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Q&A Session - 17:30-18:00 PM (Ballroom Floor, room 8)
Budgeting & Financial Assistance Q&A: cost saving best practices, the Gay Parenting Assistance Program (GPAP)
- Ron Poole-Dayan
/ MHB - Executive Director
- Lisa Schuster
/ MHB - GPAP Case Manager