Save the date: the 2020 MHB Florida Conference on June 13-14, 2020!
The 2nd annual Florida Men Having Babies conference took place on June 8-9, 2019, at the GalleryONE Hotel. Over 100 prospective parents from across the United States and beyond enjoyed a weekend of workshops, and special in-depth panels about insurance, budgeting, medical and psychological aspects of surrogacy. Proceeds from the conference benefited the organization’s Gay Parenting Assistance Program (GPAP).
Ruth David is the Senior Manager for Client and Surrogate Matching with Creative Family Connections. She oversees the surrogate recruiting and client matching process, and often meets with prospective or onboarding clients to educate them on the surrogacy process. She contributes to CFC’s business development, branding, and marketing efforts. As a certified paralegal, she also assists with research and with clarification of client preferences prior to CFC’s attorneys drafting an Agreement for Services for incoming Clients. Ruth received her BS in Business Management from George Mason University. After several years in the corporate sector as a professional technical writer/editor, she spent 8 years as a professional portrait and commercial photographer. She photographed for the Obama campaign, including coverage of White House events with staff and the President. Ruth began her work with CFC in 2010, as our family reunion photographer, and became a full-time staff member in 2012. She actively advocates for LGBT rights, including her volunteer work as a trained workshop facilitator for the Trevor Project.
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..
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.
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.
Elliott Kronenfeld, LICSW, CST is a certified sex therapist and a father through adoption and gestational surrogacy. He has worked in the fields of adoption, gestational surrogacy and family formation for 15 years. He is known around the country as a specialist in fertility, and speaks at various venues about how GLBTQ families are formed and thrive. He is the founder and Clinical Director of Insight Brookline Psychotherapy in the Boston area. His new book, Couples by Intention, is due out by the end of the year.
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.
Heather May, Esq.
Heather M. May was an attorney with her own firm until November, 2002, when she joined Tripcony Law Firm, P.A. (now known as Tripcony May) She became the managing partner in 2012. Heather began practicing in the area of Assisted Reproductive Technology in 2010. She has found surrogacy law to be a very rewarding area of the law because it is usually such a happy and joyous occasion for the parties involved, particularly the intended parents. Heather has represented Surrogates and Intended Parents and is familiar with both sides. Heather traveled to Savannah, GA in May of 2017 to speak on assisted reproductive technology in Arkansas at the American Bar Association, Family Law Section meeting. Heather still enjoys practicing in divorce and custody but is very much enjoying the added area of surrogacy and egg donation.
Jennifer McArthur is the Director of Case Management for Worldwide Surrogacy, and has a Master's Degree in Social Work. Along with Victoria Ferrara, Esq. who is the founder and legal director of Worldwide Surrogacy, Jen is the first touch point for intended parents, and a primary source of communication throughout the journey. By providing a wealth of information about the matching process, screening of surrogates, insurance matters, as well as many other important details regarding the surrogacy journey. Jen provides ongoing support and case management to intended parents, and supervises other case managers who assist our intended parents with similar matters. In addition, Jen conducts all social work assessments of surrogates and further assists intended parents with the coordination of services. By conducting interviews of all our potential surrogates and working closely with intended parents, her goal is to ensure a good match for all parties involved. Jen is highly dedicated and enthusiastic about making a lasting difference in people's lives throughout their surrogacy journey.
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.
Susanna Park, MD
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.
Daniel A. Skora, M.D. is a proud member of the LGBT community who is committed to growing families as a physician at LGBT Fertility, a division of Fertility Specialists of Texas. Dr. Skora is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and is board eligible in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. He graduated cum laude with his Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology with a certificate in neuroscience from Princeton University. After working as a research fellow at the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Skora attended the University of Minnesota Medical School where he received his medical degree. He completed his residency at George Washington University Hospital and his fellowship at The Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont. Dr. Skora is passionate about all aspects of infertility. He is dedicated to addressing the unique needs of the whole patient and calls upon his education and experience in psychology to help each one overcome the emotional challenges of trying to conceive. Dr. Skora is a fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) and a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM).
Enrique Soto, MD, MSc obtained his medical degree from the Monterrey Tech School of Medicine and completed a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where he was subsequently awarded a Fellowship in Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery. Dr. Soto then obtained a Master of Science with a specialty in Clinical Embryology and Andrology from the prestigious Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School–the first program in the United States to conceive and deliver a baby through in vitro fertilization (IVF). He then completed a second third-year Fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Soto is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. As a fertility specialist, Dr. Soto's areas of expertise include the medical and surgical treatment of infertility, IVF and third-party reproduction. Dr. Soto has published multiple peer-reviewed articles and textbook chapters and has presented his research at numerous national and international meetings.
Cindy R. Wasser, LLP
With her unique background as a high profile criminal defence lawyer for almost 30 years and, extraordinary journey as an Intended Parent, Cindy Wasser offers an unparalleled service to Intended Parents, Surrogates and Donors. Her firm, Hope Springs Fertility Law™ is one of the leading firms in Canada with a large international clientele. When the RCMP investigation into ART began in February 2012, Cindy was called upon to provide legal advice to other fertility lawyers, medical practitioners and, consultant agencies. Cindy has lectured about fertility law at medico-legal conferences and at hospitals and is published in a leading medical journal. During her criminal law career, she successfully defended high profile cases; published and lectured. Cindy was a founding Director of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted; the Chair of the Criminal Justice Section of the Ontario Bar Association and; a member of many Law Society Committees. Cindy and her husband are parents to two perfectly created daughters with the generous assistance of an ovum donor and two Surrogates.
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. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and Communications. Prior to joining our team, she worked at a California based fertility clinic as the Marketing Manager for over five years. Shelly is also a three-time surrogate mother to same sex male couples both domestic and international. She lives in Southern California with her wonderful husband and two children.
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 are among 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.
Lisa Schuster, GPAP Program Manager
Lisa joined the MHB team in January of 2018 as the Stage II GPAP Case Manager, and was later promoted to GPAP Program Manager. Lisa’s responsibilities include development of ongoing partnerships in support of the assistance program, development of practices and initiatives to further the scope and reach of the program, 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.
Sherman L. Taylor II, Chairman of the board
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 Congiardo, 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.
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.
Marcelo J. Barrionuevo, MD
Marcelo J. Barrionuevo, M.D., is subspecialty certified in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, is published in his field, and has over 25 years' experience in the diagnosis and treatment of infertility. He joined IVF FLORIDA Reproductive Associates in July 1998 and became a partner in the practice in 2005.
Doctor Barrionuevo received his medical degree from the University of Buenos Aires, School of Medicine in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Sinai Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, and his fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the University of South Florida, College of Medicine in Tampa, Florida, where he served on the faculty before joining IVF Florida Reproductive Associates.
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.
Jerald S. Goldstein, MD
Dr. Jerald Goldstein is the founder of LGBT Fertility, a division of Fertility Specialists of Texas, which he founded in 2005. He has helped thousands of couples achieve their dream of having a child and has extensive experience in surrogacy and IVF. His passion for helping gay men achieve their goal of having a child combined with the excellent success rates of the IVF laboratory at FSTX has made the IVF/Surrogacy program of the practice one of the most successful in the nation. A native Texan with more than 15 years’ experience in the field, Dr. Goldstein received his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas. He is specialist board certified Obstetrics and Gynecology and is subspecialty board certified in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. Dr. Goldstein was an assistant professor in the division of reproductive endocrinology at Washington University Medical Center, St. Louis. He 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.
Mark Denker, MD
Dr. Mark Denker obtained his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston Texas. He completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital and his fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology at the University of California at Irvine. Dr. Denker has won many prestigious awards including the Pacific Coast Fertility Society prize paper, University of California Research Symposium award and a President's Undergraduate Research Fellowship. Dr. Denker is a member of the American Medical Association, American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists, the Society of Reproductive Surgeons, The Florida Medical Association, and The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology. Dr. Denker founded the Palm Beach Fertility Center in 1994 with a philosophy that fertility treatment should be both personalized and affordable. His attention to detail and superior patient care have earned the Palm Beach Fertility Center an international reputation as the premier concierge practice in Florida.
Colleen Wagner-Coughlin is the founder and Director of aParent IVF Laboratory, which provides experienced embryology services for the physicians at Fertility Centers of Illinois. Among them, renowned reproductive endocrinologist Dr. Brian Kaplan has maintained a longstanding relationship with Colleen and performs his cases at aParent IVF. Her expertise and straightforward approach, combined with her ability to personalize each patient’s care has earned recognition and respect from the colleagues and patients with whom she has worked in her more than 30 years as an embryologist. As a strong patient advocate, Colleen has worked to advance IVF in the LGBT community. She has been recognized with the Advocacy Award by Path2Parenthood and was one of the first non-physicians to earn the prestigious Resolve Award for Patient Advocacy. Her work in same sex parent advocacy was recently featured in a series of articles in Chicago’s LGBT newspaper, The Windy City Times. She has also been featured on Windy City Live, Good Morning America, Nightline and in the Chicago Tribune.
Teresa Rockey is the Founder/Director of Family Formers Surrogacy & Egg Donation Consultants. For over 22 years, Teresa had a successful career in marketing and entrepreneurship. However, her greatest accomplishment, by far, has been becoming the mother of twin 6 years old boys and a 4 years old son via an egg donor and 2 surrogates. Through her own challenging journey, Teresa became a strong advocate to help intended parents make the right choices to ensure the best possible outcome to parenthood. As a boutique agency based in South Florida, Family Formers offers one of the most successful donor/surrogacy programs in the state. For the past decade, Family Formers has dedicated itself to assisting Intended Parents throughout the US, South America, and Europe. Our affordable program offers our LGBTQ community the expertise and personal care that our Intended Parents deserve.
Melvin Thornton, MD
Dr. Thornton has over 20 years' experience in the fertility field, including 15 years with the Columbia University IVF program as Medical Director and as Director of their donor egg program. 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. He has published more than 50 papers, written several book chapters and presented nearly 100 abstracts at professional conferences on topics related to women's health and reproduction.
Candace has a rich history of taking part in third-party reproduction. She is considered by her peers as an advocate for both egg donation and surrogacy. With much pride, Candace has experienced being an egg donor on six separate occasions. Two of these experiences were an open donation in where a close bond still exists between all. Candace has been involved in the field of fertility for ten+ years. Her focus began as a practice administrator for an IVF clinic, four years ago; she shifted gears toward the agency pathway and now is the Director of the Surrogacy Department within EC. Candace earned her Bachelor’s degree in human development, followed by a postgraduate degree in healthcare administration, with an emphasis in business management. Candace’s beliefs are aligned with the mission and vision of Extraordinary Conceptions: Everyone deserves the love of a child.
Patricia Roy has worked in the field of Embryology for two decades. She received a B.S. from St. Joseph College. Obtained her Masters degree at Long Island University-Brooklyn Campus she started her career in IVF at Cornell University. Working under many of IVF’s pioneers she developed a love for the field. She has coauthored publications, one of which was presented at an ASRM annual meeting.