Men Having Babies Florida / Latin America - 2018
Surrogacy & Gay Parenting Conference
Fort Lauderdale, June 9-10, 2018
Brandon J. Bankowski, MD, MPH
Dr. Bankowski is one of the most-respected and experienced physicians helping LGBTQ intended parents build their families through donor egg surrogacy in the USA. He is a board-certiﬁed reproductive endocrinologist with extensive experience in IVF, egg donation, surrogacy and genomics. He has practiced at Oregon Reproductive Medicine (ORM) since 2005. He and his partners at ORM have helped LGBTQ intended parents from across the world build their families. Dr. Bankowski is passionate about providing ORM’s patients the best care and the highest chance for success on their first attempt, while looking after the genetic health of their family. His vision lead to the formation of ORM Genomics, ORM’s industry-leading reproductive genomics program and in-house genetics laboratory, as well as the integration of advanced genetic screening of all donors in the ORM Donors program. He is committed to helping LGBTQ intended parents using donor egg surrogacy benefit from the latest advances in genetic screening to help them have the best chance of a healthy baby on their first attempt.
Lauren K. Cohn, PhD
Dr. Cohn works with children, adolescents, adults and families to treat a wide variety of problems. These include depression, anxiety, life transitions, bereavement, relationship problems, divorce adjustment and childhood behavior problems. She also specializes in reproductive psychology, providing therapy for individuals and couples dealing with infertility, pregnancy loss and decisions about family building. Dr. Cohn conducts evaluations for gamete donors and gestational carriers, and provides counseling for intended parents. Because of her experience with both children and adults, Dr. Cohn has a broad perspective that allows her to help intended parents and new parents navigate the complex issues involved in raising children created through ART. Dr. Cohn is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association and the Florida Psychological Association (FPA). She was president of the Broward Chapter of FPA in 2013.
Souad was raised in Morocco and arrived in the U.S. to attend university in 1998. With dual Moroccan/American citizenship, she speaks fluent English, French, and Arabic. After studying computer networking and business relations in college, she found her niche managing both the business aspects and the egg donation/surrogacy cycle for a local fertility specialist. During this time, she began to nurture the dream of expanding her role and helping bring families together through her own consulting business. In June, 2003, Souad founded Open Arms Consultants, Inc. with the mission of offering intended parents, egg donors, and surrogates the complex services they need in an environment of nurturing and warmth.
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..
Jerald 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, as well as listed as a top doctor in several publications including Texas Monthly’s annual list of Super Doctors.
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.
David I. Hoffman, M.D.
David I. Hoffman, M.D., is subspecialty certified in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility and has over 35 years of experience in the diagnosis and treatment of infertility. He has published over 65 abstracts, articles, and book chapters. In 1989, he joined Dr. Maxson at IVF FLORIDA. Before coming to South Florida he served on the faculty at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, as Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University in Chicago, Director of the IVF Program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and Section Head of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Northwestern University Medical School. In addition to working at our South Florida offices as an infertility specialist, Dr. Hoffman also serves as a Voluntary Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Miami, School of Medicine.
Kathryn is co-owner and co-director of Agency for Surrogacy Solutions and Egg Donor Solutions. Before Kathryn became an agency owner and leading expert in the field of surrogacy, egg donation, infertility and traveling for treatment – she encountered her own struggles to become a mother. Four years, 6 fresh IVFs, 3 frozen embryo transfers, an egg donor, sperm donor, over 100 embryos and 2 Gestational Surrogates later, Kathryn and her (now ex) husband became the proud parents of identical twin boys in 2003. She and her business partner (Lauri de Brito) opened their agency in 2004 hoping to help others have a smoother, shorter, less turbulent journey. The have successfully helped hundreds of people all over the world become parents. Kathryn is a member of PVED, RESOLVE, ASRM, SEEDS and ESHRE, and has appeared in many media outlets around the world.
Mark P. Leondires, M.D.
Dr. Mark Leondires is founder and Medical Director at Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT). After he and his husband Greg had two children through the complex journey of egg donation and surrogacy he realized the need for a more comprehensive concierge service for assisted reproductive team. Thus the birth of RMACT's LGBTQ-focused family building program, Gay Parents To Be. He is proud to enable members of the LGBTQ community to build the family of their dreams, as he believes all hurdles are surmountable and the joys of parenting are boundless. Dr. Leondires is board-certified in both Obstetrics and Gynecology (OBGYN) and Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility (REI), and has been selected a Best Doctor in America, a Top Doc by Castle Connolly and the 2015 Path to Parenthood Visionary Award Recipient for his outstanding commitment to patient care and building families.
Michelle Loris, Psy.D.
Michelle has been a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice for nearly twenty years, and has extensive experience in the assessment of surrogacy-related cases and the evaluation of potential gestational surrogates. A hands-on and meticulous therapist, Michelle ensures that each carrier is evaluated carefully and thoroughly before approval. Michelle also serves as the Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Sacred Heart University where she is a full-time Dean and Professor of Psychology.
Alex MacNab, LLB
Alex MacNab has extensive training and experience in interest- based negotiation, mediation and arbitration. He offers creative solutions for clients in a way that best fits their needs whether that be through lawyer-assisted negotiation, mediation or arbitration, with litigation as the method of last resort. He also specializes in reproductive law and is well-known for helping families with third party assisted reproductive techniques including donor egg, donor sperm, traditional and gestational surrogacy, as well as adoption. Alex’s legal career began in 2004 in Newfoundland and Labrador where he practiced with the Legal Aid Commission in Labrador. Alex gained experience in the areas of criminal defense and family law, appearing regularly in both the Provincial and Supreme Courts. Alex’s educational background includes a Law Degree from Dalhousie University Law School, and a BA from Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Marla Neufeld is a partner in Greenspoon Marder’s Surrogacy practice group. She is the founder of the firm’s Assisted Reproductive Technology practice group and represents parties using a surrogate, egg, sperm or embryo donor. Ms. Neufeld was personally part of the statistic of one of every eight couples of childbearing age struggling with infertility and utilizes her own experience with her fertility related legal practice. She experienced her own infertility journey for over four years and ultimately used a gestational surrogate to build her own family. She also co-authored a book published by the American Bar Association titled, The ABA Guide to Assisted Reproduction: Techniques, Legal Issues and Pathways to Success. Drawing from her own personal journey with infertility and the use of a gestational surrogate, Ms. Neufeld utilizes her transactional law background and combines it with her compassion and understanding of the surrogacy and adoption process. She focuses on helping others start a family using the available third party reproductive technologies and adoption laws in Florida.
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 (IARC), a full-service surrogacy and egg donation agency, both located in the U.S. in Minnesota. His life’s passion is to help others experience the joys of being a parent, as he has experienced raising his two children. Mr. Snyder is an active leader in numerous professional organizations, including the Society for Ethics in Egg Donation and Surrogacy (SEEDS), RESOLVE Infertility, 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.
Anthony M. Brown, Esq., Chairman of the board
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.
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. Prior to joining our team she worked at a California based fertility clinic as the Marketing Manager. Shelly is also a three time surrogate mother to same sex male couples. She lives in Southern California with her wonderful husband and two children, Aubrey and Stella.
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.
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.
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 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.
Catherine (Cat) Pursley, Finance and CRM Manager
Cat joined MHB Team in April 2017 to work alongside our Treasurer to improve financial management and reporting. She resides with her family in Atlanta, GA. Cat has over 20 years of experience in financial accounting and organizational business management, as well as government and legal contracts. She has experience in both the private and not for profit sector of business operations, accounting and contracts. Cat has helped multiple start up companies get off the ground, as well as reorganize existing growing companies to see them through to continued growth and profitability. Cat brings her experience to MHB to serve as the Finance and GPAP Relationship Manager.
Lisa Schuster, GPAP Case Manager
Lisa joined the MHB team in January of 2018 as the Stage II GPAP Case Manager. 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’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.
Georges Sylvestre, MD, 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 two sons via surrogacy, born in 2013 and 2017.
Jenny Wadley, GPAP Application Coordinator
Jenny joined MHB in October 2017 as the GPAP Application Coordinator. She brings her many years of non-profit and corporate communications experience to help facilitate the GPAP application process at both the Stage I and II levels. As Jenny is often the first MHB team member with whom Intended Parents interact, she strives to make the experience as pleasant as possible, drawing on her experience in the education field. She lives in Central Florida with her family, enjoying the sunshine and all of the happy faces.
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.
Marcelo J. Barrionuevo, M.D.
Marcelo J. Barrionuevo, M.D., is subspecialty certified in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility with over 25 years experience in the diagnosis and treatment of infertility. Before joining IVF FLORIDA Reproductive Associates in 1998, he served on the faculty of the University of South Florida, College of Medicine in Tampa, Florida, where he had completed his fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. After joining IVF FLORIDA, Dr. Barrionuevo served as the Florida-District XII Section 6 chair in the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), as well as president of The Florida Society of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, president of the Miami Obstetrics and Gynecology Society and president of the Fort Lauderdale Obstetrics and Gynecology Society. Currently he is a Voluntary Clinical Professor at the University of Miami, Florida International University and Florida Atlantic University. He also served as the Residency Program Site Director in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology for the University of Miami in the South Broward Hospital District.
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.
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.
Breanne Willoughby-Brown joined the team at Canadian Fertility Consulting in 2016 as their Marketing and Communications Manager. She thoroughly enjoys the connections the Canadian surrogacy program gives to Surrogates, Egg Donors and Intended Parents. In mid 2017 Canadian Fertility Consulting’s CEO Leia Swanberg started a lobbying effort to change the federal legislation surrounding surrogacy and gamete donation in Canada, an opportunity Breanne has been thrilled to be involved with. Canadian Fertility Consulting is Canada’s largest full service surrogacy agency, with sister company egg donor agency Egg Helpers and holistic support platform Sacred Surrogacy. Being involved in these organizations has been nothing short of pure joy, and Breanne loves being able to help others fulfill their parenting dreams through altruistic surrogacy and egg donation.
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.
Melvin Thornton, M.D.
Dr. Melvin Thornton has a stellar resume that includes 15 years with the Columbia University IVF program as Medical Director. In addition, he spent 9 years as Director of their donor egg program. He recognizes the stressful nature of infertility treatment and brings a compassionate touch to every interaction. Known for his calm demeanor, his intended parents frequently describe him as a reassuring and personable physician who truly cares. As the medical director at CT Fertility, Dr. Melvin Thornton takes pride in being part of such a transformative experience in his intended parents’ lives and is committed to guiding them through both the challenges and the successes. He places an emphasis on individualized care and focuses on helping each intended parent determine the path that is right for them as they go through the journey of creating their family. His patients describe him as a reassuring, caring, and personable physician. Dr. Thornton has dedicated many years and countless hours to teaching and mentoring medical students, fellows, and residents as an Associate Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Columbia.
Joao De Pinho, MD
Dr. Joao De Pinho, founder and medical director of American Fertility Services is a world-renowned fertility specialist that focus in third-party reproduction. He has a bachelor’s in Pharmacy, graduated magna cum laude from Medical School, board certified in Obstetrics & Gynecology (OBGYN) in Europe and the U.S. at Baylor College of Medicine (Houston) with distinction and completed his Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI) fellowship at Columbia University (New York). He is the recipient of numerous awards and publications, resulting in advances for improving sperm/egg freezing and genetic selection, a reviewer for the prestigious scientific Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, and belongs to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine review committee. Dr. De Pinho has participated as an advocate worldwide for the rights to parenthood through surrogacy at local European legislative and medical forums. He is well respected by the leading surrogacy and donor matching agencies in assisting prospective parents in the LGBT community globally on their journey to parenthood. Dr. Pinho speaks Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese.
Wendy Arker is the founder of Creative Love Egg Donor & Surrogacy Agency. Wendy got her start in the infertility world in Southern California in 2005. Being a single-mother-by-choice, Wendy understands firsthand the unique way families are built. Faced with her own infertility struggle and turning to an egg and sperm donor she completed 8 IVF cycles, 3 frozen transfers, 3 Zift cycles, and 2 egg donors before welcoming her son in 2010. Wendy founded Creative Love in 2010 with the desire to guide many others to grow their families in a smooth and cost-effective manner. Wendy is a member of ASRM and Resolve.