“While technology could not fully recreate the immersive nature of our comprehensive in-person conferences, we were still able to provide attendees an experience that goes far beyond conventional webinars,” said Jenny Congiardo, MHB's Director of Operations. "We researched several options and chose REMO, a specialized online platform, for this half-day event. Potential parents attended general presentations and breakout sessions, visited virtual expo 'tables', and even had private consultations with providers." 

Since stay-at-home orders started in March, MHB has had to reschedule and rethink in-person conferences. MHB has held numerous successful and well-attended Webinars. The Chicago conference was first rescheduled from April to July. With the uncertainty about COVID-19 and travel safety, MHB then made the decision to change the concept from a comprehensive conference about surrogacy, to a half-day virtual seminar and expo showcasing surrogacy options in the Midwest. 

"The Midwest Surrogacy Seminar and Expo offered an overview of the unique characteristics of the Midwest as a surrogacy destination," said Ron Poole-Dayan, MHB’s Executive Director. "Attendees from 25 states and several European countries got the opportunity to learn more about, evaluate, and connect with regional surrogacy agencies, IVF clinics, law firms, and additional providers."

The Midwest Surrogacy Seminar and Expo was well attended and a satisfaction survey yielded an overall score of 9.1 out of 10, and similar or higher scores for most of the sessions.  One of those who joined in for the four-and-a-half-hour event commented, “The MHB team and the partners they work with were highly knowledgeable and provided a great pool of resources towards starting the surrogacy journey.” Another said the virtual event was a “very useful introduction to the many issues and questions that potential parents may have in embarking on a surrogacy journey.”  Others remarked that they just wished there were even more sessions and longer breakout events so that providers had more time to answer questions!

Among the speakers was Dr. Angie Beltsos, Chief Medical Officer and Medical Director of Vios Fertility Institute and a member of MHB's Advisory Board, who gave an overview of the unique characteristics of the Midwest as a surrogacy destination. And Attorney Steven H. Snyder, Director of IARC Surrogacy and also a member of MHB's Advisory Board, provided an overview of legal characteristics of surrogacy in the Midwest.

Proceeds from sponsorship and exhibiting fees will benefit MHB’s Gay Parenting Assistance Program (GPAP), which annually provides dozens of prospective parents with over a million dollars’ worth of cash grants, discounts and free services from more than fifty leading service providers. The majority of the exhibitors at the Midwest conference are supporters of GPAP including Platinum sponsors Vios Fertility Institute and IARC Surrogacy; Gold sponsors Alternative Reproductive Resources, Golden Surrogacy, Family Choice Surrogacy, Gift of Life Surrogacy, and IVF Michigan; and Bronze sponsor EMD Serono.

Past webinars are available to view on our website. The webinar archive of videos is restricted however to members of MHB's Members Benefits Program (MBP) only. You can become a Member by making an annual donation of as low as $150.