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Men having Babies joined leading Chicago LGBT organizations to bring its surrogacy parenting conference to prospective Midwestern gay dads!

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The first Midwestern Men Having Babies Surrogacy Seminar and Gay Parenting Expo was held in downtown Chicago on September 13, 2014. For this event, Men Having Babies partnered with the Center on Halsted and the Howard Brown Health Center, two local community partners, who both provided outstanding hospitality and support in order to accommodate over 15 Gay Parenting Expo exhibitors, and the 150 parents, prospects, and professional that attended



Watch the highlight video from the conference.



The program included a “Surrogacy 101” workshop that provided an overview of the various surrogacy arrangements available to gay men, with the aim to prepare future parents to make decisions regarding their surrogacy journey. Speakers included Dr. Brian Kaplan from Fertility Centers of Illinois and Nidhi Desai, an attorney from Ballard, Desai, and Miller.  Also, representatives of sponsoring surrogacy organizations provided a brief description of the services they provide. 

Men Having Babies is a non-profit organization, and all fees and proceeds from sponsorship benefit the Gay Parenting Assistance Program (GPAP), a program that was launched last year. GPAP was created as part of the organization’s mission to promote the affordability of surrogacy services for gay men.  In 2014 GPAP awarded $600,000 in cash grants and free services to gay couples and individuals who would otherwise never be able to become parents, and facilitated access to nearly a million dollars’ worth of discounted IVF, surrogacy and legal services to dozens more gay couples.


Among the major supporters of the assistance program are some of the sponsors of the Chicago conference, including Worldwide Surrogacy, aParent IVF, Family Source Consultants, IVF NJ, RMA of CT, Fertility Center of Las Vegas, Simple Surrogacy and CT Fertility. 

 

The event was hosted by the Center on Halsted, thanks to the assistance of Lynnea Karlic, Director of Community and Cultural Programs. “Center on Halsted partnered with Men Having Babies to present the first Midwestern surrogacy and gay parenting event because we realize that this is an issue that many gay men find important and often have difficulty finding information about,” says Lynnea Karlic, Director of Community & Cultural Programs. “Now that marriage is legal in Illinois for all couples, many individuals are deciding to choose this path and may be curious about different options for parenthood. This program is just one example of programming Center on Halsted provides throughout the lifespan for LGBTQ individuals in an effort to give access to resources specific to the LGBTQ community.”


American sign language (ASL) was offered at the event courtesy of Alternative Reproductive Resources, Lunch was underwritten by aParent IVF, and the seminar was recorded on video courtesy of Worldwide Surrogacy Specialists. Additional supportive community organizations that helped to make this event possible include the Family Equality Council, Milwaukee LBGT Community Center, Proud Parenting, and the Windy City Times. 

 

About Center on Halsted
Center on Halsted is the Midwest's most comprehensive community center dedicated to advancing community and securing the health and well-being of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) people of Chicagoland. More than 1,000 community members visit the Center every day, located in the heart of Chicago's Lakeview Neighborhood. The Center’s vision includes a thriving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community, living powerfully in supportive inclusive environments.
More information: www.centeronhalsted.org
 

About Howard Brown Health Center
Howard Brown Health Center, founded in 1974, is one of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender organizations. With an annual budget of over $30 million, the agency serves more than 16,000 adults and youth each year in its diverse health and social service delivery system focused around seven major programmatic divisions: primary medical care, behavioral health, research, HIV/STD prevention, youth services, elder services, and community initiatives. HBHC serves men and women, infants, youth, and children through a multi-site operation based in Chicago that includes a main health and research center in the Uptown neighborhood, Aris Health, the Broadway Youth Center, and three Brown Elephant resale shops located in Chicago and Oak Park.
More information: www.howardbrown.org
 

About Men Having Babies
With over 1500 couples and singles worldwide, Men Having Babies (MHB) is the only international nonprofit organization dedicated to providing current and future gay surrogacy parents with educational and financial support. It offers seminars, exhibits, and workshops in NY, and teams up with LGBT family associations throughout the world to develop similar programs. In 2014 the organization’s Gay Parenting Assistance Program (GPAP) awarded 10 couples and singles over $600,000 in cash grants and free services, in addition to dozens who became eligible for generous discounts from over thirty service providers. MHB also offers extensive online resources, a directory with ratings and reviews of surrogacy agencies and IVF clinics, a speakers bureau, and a vibrant online community forum.
More information: www.menhavingbabies.org