Men Having Babies South - 2018
Surrogacy & Gay Parenting Conference

Austin, March 3-4, 2018

Full conference program

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Stacks Image 32702
Registration: 3:00-3:30 PM
Stacks Image 34236
Is surrogacy right for you? Overview and personal stories: 3:30 PM - 4:45 PM (Salon A+B)
We will open our session with introductions, a comparison of surrogacy with other parenting options, and an overview of the considerations for choosing various parenting routes.

To help you further understand what surrogacy entails from the personal standpoint, you will have an opportunity to hear personal testimonies from a diverse group of of gay surrogacy dads and the surrogates who helped them.

Panelists include:

Caroline Phifer
Caroline is a 30 year old wife and mother from Fairfield, Texas. She has completed two amazing surrogacy journeys, one with a local couple and one with an international couple.

Brandon Goss
Brandon, father through Surrogacy from Houston, Texas. Brandon first attended a MHB event in New York where he met the Surrogacy agency he worked with to assist in the birth of his beautiful 2 year old daughter.

Dominique Side
Dominique is a three-time surrogate and one-time egg donor. She has been with her husband for over 20yrs. They have an 18yo daughter, 16yo son, 13yo son, and 11yo daughter. She feels that surrogacy has made her life incredibly full in so many ways.

Hao Sheng
Hao is an independent curator of Chinese Art and a potter. He and his husband Ray moved to Texas in 2012. Their daughter Clyde was born in June 2015 with the help of Dominique.
Stacks Image 61203

Brandon Goss and his daughter

Stacks Image 61093

Hao with his husband Ray and their daughter Clyde

Stacks Image 61116

Dominique with Clyde, the baby she carried for Hao and Ray

Stacks Image 65190
Coffee break: 4:45-5:00 PM
Stacks Image 34319
A mindful look at surrogacy - Psychological and Ethical Aspects: 5:00-6:15 PM (Salon A+B)
In this session we will examine the psychological, social and ethical concerns that some prospective parents and surrogates may feel in advance of this joint journey, and might stand in the way of having an open and connected process. We will then offer possible coping mechanisms, support resources and best practices to address these concerns.

We will look at questions such as:
  • How can the parties best prepare for the journey, find the right match and adjust expectations?
  • What are the typical dynamics in the relationship between the intended parents and the surrogates?
  • How to best navigate difficult decision points and deal with the inherent uncertainty in the process?
  • How do parents and surrogates deal with critical social views of surrogacy?
  • 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 academic 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:
  • Vickie Schafer, Ph.D., psychologist
  • Solveig Gramann, LICSW, Circle Surrogacy
  • Michelle Pine, surrogate mother and MHB board member.
  • Caroline Phifer, surrogate mother
Stacks Image 57003
Break / Light Supper: 6:15-6:45 PM
Sponsored by Fertility Specialists of Texas
Stacks Image 57257
Planning your parenting journey: 6:45-8:00 PM (Salon A+B)
This is the first part of our comprehensive surrogacy workshop that was developed based on the accumulated knowledge of hundreds of gay men who have already gone through the process.
Topics covered will include:
Basic terminology, types and components of typical surrogacy arrangements.
Typical sequence and timeline for gestational surrogacy journeys.
Legal considerations in the USA and Canada.
Major decisions that shape the surrogacy journey.
Considering your family vision, financial constraints, risk tolerance and ethical preferences.

Optional Social Activity Post-Conference:

Post Conference Happy Hour: 8:30 PM

Join us at the famous Austin bar Sellers Underground to close the evening with a social gathering organized in collaboration with several local LGBT organizations. 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, and members of the local LGBT community.
  • Austin-Sellers-Underground_180
    Refreshments will be served.
  • Registered attendees receive a coupon for one free drink.
  • Optional shuttle service from the conference’s hotel and return.
Stacks Image 61320


Sunday, March 4, 2018

Stacks Image 24374
Registration: 8:30-9:00 AM
Stacks Image 24375
Picking providers, budgeting and financial assistance: 9:00-10:15 AM (Salon A+B)
On the second part of our workshop we will provide peer advice on selecting 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).
Stacks Image 24376
Coffee break: 10:15-10:30 AM
Stacks Image 24383
Expert Panel: Medical Aspects of Surrogacy 10:30-11:45 AM (Salon A+B)
The medical screening of future fathers, egg donors and surrogates, the creation of optimal embryos, and the IVF process

Moderator: Dr. Georges Sylvestre / MHB board
- Jerald Goldstein, M.D.
/ Fertility Specialists of Texas
- Susanna Park, M.D.
/ San Diego Fertility Center
- Amanda Hurliman, M.D.
Stacks Image 24424
Lunch / gay parenting expo: 11:45 AM - 1:15 PM (Limestone II)
Enjoy a buffet lunch and explore our Gay Parenting Services Exhibit: more than twenty five tables where you can meet and receive information from leading clinics, surrogacy agencies, lawyers and supporting community organizations. The expo will remain open until 5:30 pm. Lunch is sponsored by Simple Surrogacy.
Stacks Image 57337
Expert Panel: Budgeting and Insurance 1:15-2:20 PM (Salon A+B)
A closer look at medical insurance and surrogate compensation packages. Sponsored by ART Risk

Moderator: Ron Poole-Dayan / MHB board
- Victoria Ferrara, Esq.
/ Worldwide Surrogacy Specialists
- Steve Snyder, Esq.
- Virginia Hart
/ ART Risk
- Michelle Pine
/ Surrogate mother and MHB board member

Stacks Image 3630
Breakout sessions - come meet the sponsors: 2:30 - 4:30 PM (Salon A+B, Limestone II, Pecan, Bluebonnet)
Attendees will have the opportunity to take part in up to 6 introductory 20-minute group consultations with the various seminar sponsors. Take advantage of this opportunity to "shop around" and get to know these agencies and clinics more closely. See the table below.

Salon A+B

Limestone II



Stacks Image 70277
2:30-2:48 PM
Stacks Image 60226
Stephanie Scott
Stacks Image 70302
Jerald Goldstein, MD
Stacks Image 70308
Victoria Ferrara, Esq.
Stacks Image 70305
Heather Hoff, MD
Stacks Image 70312
2:50-3:08 PM
Stacks Image 62606
Stephanie Scott
Stacks Image 62619
Jerald Goldstein, MD
Stacks Image 62632
Victoria Ferrara, Esq.
Stacks Image 62645
Heather Hoff, MD
Stacks Image 70347
3:10-3:28 PM
Stacks Image 62580
Susanna Park, MD
Stacks Image 62593
Dean Hutchison, Esq.
Stacks Image 62658
Amanda Hurliman, MD
Stacks Image 70407
Staci Swiderski
Zara Griswold
Stacks Image 70382
3:30-3:48 PM
Stacks Image 62671
Susanna Park, MD
Stacks Image 62684
Dean Hutchison, Esq.
Stacks Image 70404
Simi Denson, Esq.
Stacks Image 62697
Staci Swiderski
Zara Griswold
Stacks Image 70417
3:50-4:08 PM
Stacks Image 60330
Hilary Smith
Stacks Image 70442
Virginia Hart
Stacks Image 70439
Ashim Kumar, MD
Stacks Image 70452
4:10-4:30 PM
Stacks Image 62710
Hilary Smith
Stacks Image 60382

Steven Snyder, Esq.

Stacks Image 60369
Ashim Kumar, MD
Stacks Image 70620
Optional private consultations: 3:00 - 8:00 PM (various rooms, please check with participating providers for more details)
Several clinics and agencies will be available in offices for private consultations with prospective parents that wish to explore the options they offer in more depth. Prospective parents may request to coordinate consultations in advance using this form. Consultation slots may also be available last minute for those who want to first hear the providers at the conference.
Stacks Image 65374
Gay parenting expo / networking reception: 4:30 - 5:30 PM (Salon C+D)
Prospective parents, parents (&children!), psychologists, social workers, students, researchers and other professionals are invited to network and exchange perspectives over refreshments. Our Surrogacy Expo will run in parallel.

Specialty Sessions

Stacks Image 26253
5:30-6:30 pm

Salon A+B

Limestone II

Expert legal panel: Legal status of surrogacy across the USA and Canada, contracts, securing parentage rights
Moderator: Michael Wetson / MHB board
- Dean Hutchison, Esq.
/ Circle Surrogacy
- Simi Denson, Esq.
/ PrimaVita Surrogacy
GPAP Q&A: Learn more about Men Having Babies Gay Parenting Assistance Program (GPAP)
- Ron Poole-Dayan
/ MHB Executive Director
- Cat Pursley
/ MHB Finance Manager