The 2019 Brussels conference on
Parenting options for European gay men

September 21-22, 2019

Event Home

Full conference program

Simultaneous translation in this conference is sponsored by Southern California Reproductive Center

Saturday, September 21, 2019

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Registration: 8:15-9:00 (Floor 1)
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Overview of parenting options available to European gay men, including surrogacy and adoption options in the USA and Canada: 9:00-9:15 (Grand Ballroom, Floor 1)
Introductions and an overview of parenting options for European gay men.
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Planning your parenting journey: 9:15 -10:30 (Grand Ballroom, Floor 1)
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.
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Coffee break: 10:30-11:00
Sponsored by Simple Surrogacy
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Picking providers, budgeting and financial assistance (GPAP): 11:00-12:30 (Grand Ballroom, Floor 1)
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).
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Q&A session: The Gay Parenting Assistance Program (GPAP) - 12:30-13:00 (Grand Ballroom, Floor 1)
- Ron Poole-Dayan
/ MHB - Executive Director
- Lisa Schuster
/ MHB - GPAP Program Manager
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Lunch / Gay Parenting Resource Fair: 13:00 - 14:30 (Foyer & Park Ballroom, Floor 1)
Enjoy a buffet lunch and explore the resource fair of Gay Parenting Services (Park Ballroom) - 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 17:30.
Lunch is sponsored by San Diego Fertility Center.
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Breakout sessions - come meet the sponsors: 14:30 - 16:30 (1st & 26th Floors - see table)
Attendees will have the opportunity to take part in up to 7 introductory group consultations with the various providers. Most sessions will be 18 minutes long (plus 2-3 minutes switch time), and the last two are only 8 minutes. They take place simultaneously in 4 meeting rooms. 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.

26th Floor:
Meeting room 1

26th Floor:
Meeting room 3

1st Floor:
Grand Ballroom 1

1st Floor:
Grand Ballroom 2

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Gay Parenting Resource Fair / Coffee Break: 16:30-17:30 (Park Ballroom, Floor 1)
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Sponsored by Worldwide Surrogacy
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Personal stories panel: 17:30 - 18:15 (Grand Ballroom, Floor 1)
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Hear the diverse personal experiences of several gay surrogacy dads and surrogates (sponsored by California Fertility Partners)

Panelists include:

Thomas Verbaet
Thomas and Guillaume met in 2011 and got married in 2016. They first turned to adoption, although it is legal in Belgium, the procedure is extremely complicated and very long. They then looked into surrogacy in January 2017, 16 months later, they were the happy parents of Edgar.

Giuseppe Di Stefano
Giuseppe and Bevan live in London and have been together for 10 years. They decided on surrogacy in 2014/15 and they are now parents to 2 years old twins, Tui and Gabriel after working with a gestational surrogate from Denver Colorado. They remain in close contact with her, sharing news & photos of each other’s family regularly.

Valorie Jacobson
Val is a 34-year-old mom from Richland Center, Wisconsin. She has three amazing sons, Rylee 14, Zach 12, and Aaron 8. Surrogacy has shown her family love in a whole new way. She is very thankful for this experience and the ways she has grown because of it.

Molly Corcoran
Molly is a two-time surrogate. She delivered a baby girl in June 2018 to Frank and Willy from Belgium. She is currently 24 weeks pregnant with a baby girl due in January. Her current intended parents, Henrik and Balazs, are from Amsterdam. Molly feels becoming a gestational carrier and helping intended dads complete their families is one of the most fulfilling things she has done in her life.

Jérôme Charlier
Kevin and Jerome have been together since 2012. They got legally married in Belgium in 2016. They first attended an MHB conference in Brussels in 2017. Thanks to their amazing surrogate Deborah, on May 14 2019, Rose was born at 33 weeks.
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A mindful look at surrogacy - Psychological and Ethical aspects: 18:15-19:30 (Grand Ballroom, Floor 1)
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: Silvia Schnider-Fox, PsyD, MHB board member

Speakers / Panelists:
  • Kim Bergman, PhD, Growing Generations
  • Dr. Vasanti Jadva, Centre for Family Research, Cambridge University
  • Lisa Schuster, surrogate mother and MHB’s GPAP program manager.

19:30 - Happy Hour

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    Join us in Park Ballroom (Floor 1) 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. (Sponsored by California Fertility Partners and Growing Generations).

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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 22, 2019

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Registration: 8:00-9:00 (Floor 1)
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Expert Panel: Medical Aspects of Surrogacy 9:00 - 10:30 (Grand Ballroom, Floor 1)
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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

- Said Daneshmand, MD
/ San Diego Fertility Center
- Angeline Beltsos, MD
/ Vios Fertility Institute
- John Hesla, MD

/ ORM Fertility
- Samuel Pang, MD

/ Boston IVF
Joao De Pinho, MD
/ American Fertility Services
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Coffee break: 10:30-10:45
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Expert Panel: Budgeting and Insurance 10:45-11:45 (Grand Ballroom, Floor 1)
A closer look at medical insurance and surrogate compensation packages.
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Sponsored by Art Risk

Moderator: Ron Poole-Dayan, MHB board

- Diane Hinson, Esq.
/ Creative Family Connections LLC
- Virginia Hart
/ Art Risk
- Scott Buckley
/ Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation
- Nir Keren
/ CReATe Fertility Centre

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Country-specific expert panels: 11:45-12:45 (France: Grand Ballroom, floor 1, Belgium: floor 26, meeting room 1, German: floor 26, meeting room 2, Netherlands: floor 26, meeting room 3, and the rest of Europe: floor 25, meeting room 3).
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
  • Avv. Ida Parisi / Italy
  • Attorney Clélia Richard / France
  • Attorney Fabian Gaudry / Belgium
  • Andrea Woelke / A German and an English family law solicitor based in London
  • Victoria Ferrara, Esq. / Worldwide Surrogacy Specialists
  • Stephanie Caballero / Surrogacy Law Center
  • Molly O’Brien, Esq. / International Fertility Law Group
  • Steve Snyder, Esq. / International Assisted Reproduction Center (IARC)
  • Cindy Wasser / Hope Springs Fertility Law Canada
  • Rich Vaughn, Esq. / International Fertility Law Group