Men Having Babies Midwest - 2018
Surrogacy Seminar & Gay Parenting Expo

Chicago, April 14-15, 2018

Full conference program

Saturday, April 14, 2018

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Registration: 3:00-3:30 PM
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Is surrogacy right for you? Overview and personal stories: 3:30 PM - 4:45 PM (Theater)
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.

Moderator: Shelly Marsh, former surrogate and MHB’s marketing manager.

Panelists include:

Holly Fey
Holly gave birth to her first surro-baby in December 2017, whom she carried for a couple from New York. She currently resides with in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and two children. All four of them feel grateful for the new relationships that have bloomed from Holly's surrogacy journey.

Cory Leibmann
Cory Liebmann is a real estate agent from Brookfield, Wisconsin. He and his husband Jianhua started their journey by attending Men Having Babies in Chicago in 2015. On February 2, 2018, they welcomed their beautiful daughter Lindsay Joy into their family.

Sarah Pimlott
Sarah is from Ankeny, Iowa works in Human Resources at a Brain Injury rehab center. She has 3 children ages 12, 10, and 3 1/2. She completed first surrogacy journey for Landon in August and is beginning a sibling journey (Transfer scheduled for May).

Landon Wilson
Landon, an estate planning attorney, and his husband Brian, a commercial litigator, have lived in Chicago for over 10 years. The couple met in 2005 at college in North Carolina and married in 2014. They welcomed their son, Graham, in August 2017 and are hoping he becomes a big brother in early 2019.
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Landon and Brian with their surrogate, Sarah.

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Cory Liebmann, his husband Jianhua, their daughter
Lindsay Joy, and their dog.

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Coffee break: 4:45-5:00 PM
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A mindful look at surrogacy - Psychological and Ethical Aspects: 5:00-6:00 PM (Theater)
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:
  • Dr. Ariadna Cymet Lanski, psychologist
  • Dr. Silvia Schneider Fox, psychologist
  • Michelle Pine, surrogate mother and MHB board member
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Break / Light Supper: 6:00-6:30 PM
Sponsored by Golden Surrogacy
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Planning your parenting journey: 6:30-8:00 PM (Theater)
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 SideTrack Chicago (just two blocks away) 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. Sponsored by VIOS Fertility Institute.

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    Refreshments will be served.
  • Registered attendees receive a coupon for one free drink.
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Sunday, April 15, 2018

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Registration, Breakfast, and Gay parenting Expo: 8:00-9:00 AM (John Baran Hall)
Register, enjoy a complementary breakfast, 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.
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Picking providers, budgeting and financial assistance: 9:00-10:15 AM (Theater)
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).
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Coffee break: 10:15-10:30 AM
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Expert Panel: Budgeting and Insurance 10:30-11:45 AM (Theater)
A closer look at medical insurance and surrogate compensation packages. Sponsored by ART Risk

Moderator: Ron Poole-Dayan / MHB board
- Scott Buckley, Esq.
/ Circle Surrogacy
- Kristen Hanson
/ Simple Surrogacy
- Virginia Hart
/ ART Risk
- Michelle Pine
/ Surrogate mother and MHB board member

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Lunch / gay parenting expo: 11:45 AM - 1:15 PM (Reception Hall / John Baran Hall)
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 4:40 pm. Lunch is sponsored by Fertility Center of Illinois.
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Expert Panel: Medical Aspects of Surrogacy 1:15-2:30 PM (Theater)
The medical screening of future fathers, egg donors and surrogates, the creation of optimal embryos, and the IVF process. Sponsored by Carrot - Fertility Benefits for Modern Companies.

Moderator: Sherman Taylor II / MHB board
- Juan Alvarez, M.D.
/ Fertility Centers of Illinois
- Elizabeth Barbieri, M.D.
- Sigal Klipstein, M.D.
/ InVia Fertility Specialists
- Susanna Park, M.D.
/ San Diego Fertility Center
- Guy Ringler, M.D.
/ California Fertility Partners
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Breakout sessions - come meet the sponsors: 2:30 - 4:10 PM (Theater, Reception Hall, 200, 201)
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.


Reception Hall

Room 200

Room 201

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2:30-2:48 PM
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Juan Alvarez, M.D.
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Frank Golden
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Kristen Hanson
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Guy Ringler M.D.
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2:50-3:08 PM
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Juan Alvarez, M.D.
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Frank Golden
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Jen McArthur
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Tricia Howard
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3:10-3:28 PM
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Susanna Park, MD
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Sigal Klipstein, M.D.
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Jen McArthur
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Virginia Hart
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3:30-3:48 PM
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Susanna Park, MD
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Zara Griswold
Staci Swiderski
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Scott Buckley
Alicia Abdella
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Mary Murphey
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3:50-4:08 PM
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Elizabeth Barbieri, M.D.
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Colleen Wagner-Coughlin
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Angie Beltsos, M.D.
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Robin von Halle
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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.
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Gay parenting expo / networking reception: 4:10 - 4:40 PM (John Baran Hall)
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.

Q&A Sessions

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4:40-5:30 pm

Reception Hall


Legal Q&A: contracts, parental rights, international recognition
- Anthony Brown, Esq. / MHB board

Budgeting & Financial Assistance Q&A: cost saving best practices, the Gay Parenting Assistance Program (GPAP)
- Ron Poole-Dayan
/ MHB Executive Director
- Cat Pursley
/ MHB Finance Manager