About the sponsors and exhibitors:
"Center Families is the Center's family program for LGBT parents and their children
and for those considering parenthood. Center Families programs include support
groups for LGBT parents and prospective parents, including "Planning Biological Parenting for Gay Men, which meets at the Center every fourth Wednesday of the month, at 6:30 PM. In addition, programs also include other education and support services for prospective parents and families in the LGBTQ community, as well as a groundbreaking LGBTQ Foster Care Project. In its almost 20-year history, Center Families has helped thousands of LGBT people who are and would like to be parents, worked to keep together families when they are struggling with their child's sexual orientation, assisted family-serving agencies such as foster care agencies and educational institutions in meeting the needs of LGBT families and provided opportunities for families to meet safely with one another for socialization, education, community building and empowerment."
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in NYC was established in 1983, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual
& Transgender Community Center, 208 West 13th St. in New York City, is the
largest LGBT community center on the East Coast. More than 6,000 people visit
the Center weekly and 300 groups meet there."
"Since 1991 CT Fertility Associates has created over 4,500 babies for gay and straight parents from around the world. Based in CT, the clinic also operates an office in Manhattan, which offers full access to its wide range of donor matching options, designed to maximize your results, choice and control. Dr Doyle's state-of-the-art reproductive services include IVF, ICSI, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), egg freezing and banking, and embryo adoption. Through early mastery of the vitrification technology, CT Fertility has established one of the largest and most successful Donor Egg Banks in the world. The clinic achieves exceptional results by coordinating all aspect of the medical process under one roof, including the finding and pre-screening of highly qualified, safe, and immediately available local egg donors, many of whom are open to both meet you prior to donation and to maintain contact afterwards."
"Circle Surrogacy is the nation's oldest gay owned, full service surrogate-parenting agency serving clients worldwide. Founded by John Weltman, Circle Surrogacy has been involved in the birth of more than 500 babies, with unmatched success rates in clients becoming parents through egg donor surrogacy. Since 1995, Circle has helped couples and singles from 50 countries and 6 continents become parents. Its dedicated staff of professionals is made up of lawyers, social workers, parents through surrogacy, and former surrogates and egg donors. Circle Surrogacy provides a choice of specialized clinics at locations throughout the United States as well as a large selection of egg donors, timely matching with carefully screened surrogates and a variety of flexible programs and financial options."
"Growing Generations has been a company passionately dedicated to the vision of creating life and, in the process, changing the world. Ground-breaking from the start, Growing Generations was the first surrogacy agency dedicated to serving the gay and lesbian community and the only agency to offer online donor videos. Over the last decade and a half, Growing Generations has continued its work with all family types, regardless of marital status or sexual orientation, assisting clients from over 30 different countries to create nearly 1,000 babies. Additionally, Growing Generations now provides surrogacy and egg donation services to HIV-positive men, who can use their own sperm to create biological families. At Growing Generations the mission is simple - to build families of choice for communities around the globe through surrogacy, egg donation and sperm donation."
"Founded and owned by Attorney Melissa Brisman, Reproductive Possibilities has been helping straight and gay parents build their families for the last 13 years. Melissa's personal experience with surrogacy motivated her to specialize in the field and subsequently help bring over 1200 babies into the lives of parents worldwide. Reproductive Possibilities' experienced and caring staff focuses on matching parents with the right gestational carrier and offers continuous guidance and support throughout the process. The agency offers reasonable pricing, including customized options for those intended parents who want them. Attorney Melissa Brisman personally walks each prospective parent through the legal process, drafts and negotiates the necessary legal documents. The agency's Surrogate Fund Management efficiently and accurately handles the payment of expenses to carriers as well other third parties associated with this process.
About the panelists:
- George Fesser, LMSW
George Fesser, the Director of Center Families, is a graduate of the Columbia University School of Social Work and specializes in work with LGBT families and immigrants. Before becoming the director of Center Families, George worked for four years as the Center's Coordinator of Substance Abuse Prevention & Immigration Services where he was responsible for coordinating and providing direct support services to LGBT immigrants from over 50 countries. George also created the Center's LGBT Immigrant Social Action Group which helps LGBT immigrants learn more about the laws that affect them and how they can use their stories to promote change in a system that does not recognize the unique needs of the LGBT immigrant population. Prior to joining the Center, George worked at several well-known agencies including: Street Work, a program of Safe Horizon, Montefiore Medical Center, The Hispanic AIDS Forum and AID FOR AIDS. In his 15 years of experience in working with LGBT immigrants he has successfully assisted over 300 LGBT immigrants through the arduous process of asylum application, by providing culturally sensitive emotional support services.
- Dr. Kim Bergman
Kim Bergman Ph.D. is the founder of Fertility Counseling Services, Inc., providing all aspects of psychological services to individuals and agencies in the field of fertility and assisted reproduction. Dr. Bergman also is a co-owner of Growing Generations LLC.
Dr. Bergman is the current co-chair of Family Equality, the only national non- profit organization solely dedicated to equality for LGBTQ parents and their families, through advocacy, education and support. Dr. Bergman's professional affiliations include the American Psychological Association, Los Angeles County Psychological Association, and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Dr. Bergman and her partner of 28 years have two daughters, ages 15 and 13. Born in Los Angeles, California, Dr. Bergman completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology at UCLA. She then went on to obtain both her Master's and her Doctoral degrees in psychology at the California School of Professional Psychology Los Angeles. Dr. Bergman has been a licensed psychologist since 1992.
- Melissa Brisman, Esq.
Melissa Brisman graduated valedictorian from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and graduated with honors from Harvard Law School. Her legal practice focuses on matters related to family building and third-party reproduction options, such as gestational carriers (GC), surrogacy, and ovum, sperm and embryo donation. She is the mother of twin boys and a daughter who were delivered using a GC. Ms. Brisman has argued and won several landmark cases, and was the first attorney in NJ and
Maine to obtain court orders allowing the genetic parents of children delivered by GC to go directly on the birth certificates. She also has won several important cases for many gay and lesbian couples: Lesbian partners were both named as parents on the birth certificate for their child (NJ) and a gay man was named as the only parent on the birth certificate for his twins, who were delivered using a GC (PA).
- Dr. Michael Doyle
Dr. Doyle is the founder and medical director of CT Fertility Associates, which he started in 1991 after completing his advanced fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology at Yale University. Prior to that he received his undergraduate degree from Brown University; his medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco; and his residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Over 4,500 babies have been born to parents who have been successfully treated by Dr. Doyle, including over 500 for LGBT families who consistently praise him as a highly skilled expert who balances great technical expertise with a highly caring, hands-on and flexible approach. Dr. Doyle has authored numerous articles, research papers and book chapters, he is a frequent speaker at medical meetings and conferences, and act as the resident expert on prominent community and professional portals including Fertility Authority, Family Equality Council, Proud Parenting, Surromoms Online, and the Center Families. In 2009 the outstanding results of hid Frozen Donor Egg Bank were featured to an international audience at the ESHRE conference in Amsterdam..
- John Weltman, Esq.
John Weltman is the owner, founder and president of Circle Surrogacy. Ltd., as well as the Managing Partner of the Boston law firm, Weltman Law Group. John is recognized worldwide as an expert in the field of reproductive law, including surrogacy and gay parenting. He was the first to establish the right of couples to get insurance coverage for gestational surrogacy in MA. John has repeatedly obtained pre-birth orders and second parent adoptions for gay couples and singles who have pursued surrogacy throughout the country. John and his husband began their surrogacy journey in 1991 and had two boys through the same surrogate. They were among the first gay couples to have children through surrogacy and were only the second to have two children, each man fathering a biological son. John has been interviewed by and appeared in numerous publications, TV programs, and conferences throughout the US, Europe, Canada, and Israel. John studied at Yale, Oxford and the University of Virginia and holds a Masters Degree in History and a JD. He is licensed to practice law in MA, NY and CA..