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Our Family Coalition & Men Having Babies present:

2017 SF Surrogacy Conference, Jan 14-15

Full conference program

Saturday, January 14, 2017

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Registration: 5:00-5:30 PM (10th Floor)
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Is surrogacy right for you? Overview and personal stories: 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM (Commandants Room, 10th Floor)
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.


Heather Jacobson, PhD
Heather Jacobson is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Texas at Arlington whose research centers primarily on various routes to family formation. She is the author of Labor of Love: Gestational Surrogacy and the Work of Making Babies.

Panelist include:

John Maroney
John and his husband Denis live in Southern California. In October 2016 they welcomed their son Liam, born via gestational surrogacy. The couple were recipients of GPAP Stage II benefits for their journey.

Jonelle Martin
Jonelle, a mother of three from Sacramento, is the gestational surrogate who carried Liam for Denis and John.

Mario Kevesic
Mario and his partner Mano are very new parents from Northern California: they welcomed their daughter Naya, born via gestational surrogacy, in December 2016. The couple were recipients of GPAP Stage II benefits for their journey.

Rachelle Myers-Nelson
Rachelle is a surrogate mother who helped two different gay couples from Italy: a singleton boy in 2013 and twin boys in 2015. Rachelle is also a member of MHB’s advisory committee, recently gave several media interviews to Italian and Belgian media, and has served as an advocate and public speaker on matters including surrogacy, gay marriage and gay parenting.
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From the left: John, Jonelle, Liam, and Denis

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Rachelle with her husband Erik, Davide (left), Mirco (right) and the twins she carried with them.

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Coffee break: 6:30-6:45 PM
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A mindful look at surrogacy - Attitudes and Ethics: 6:45-8:00 PM (Commandants Room, 10th Floor)
In this session we will examine how we feel about surrogacy: the meanings and significance people tend to attribute to surrogacy in their lives, with a special focus on surrogates’ perspective. With the help of several surrogates, a sociologist and a psychologist, we will look at questions such as:
  • What are the dominant social perceptions of surrogacy in the U.S. and Canada?
  • How do surrogates understand their experiences?
  • 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 ethnographic 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 Sacred Surrogacy (part of the Sacred Living movement) and MHB's Framework for Ethical Surrogacy.

Moderator: Ron Poole-Dayan, surrogacy father, executive director of MHB

Speakers / Panelists:
  • Heather Jacobson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Texas at Arlington.
  • Elaine Gordon, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, third party family building.
  • Rachelle Myers-Nelson, surrogate mother and a member of MHB’s surrogates advisory board.
  • Nici Shipway, birth doula, curator of the Sacred Surrogacy program.
  • Jonelle Martin, a surrogate mother

Sunday, January 15, 2017

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Registration: 8:30-9:00 AM (10th Floor Foyer)
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Planning your parenting journey: 9:00-10:30 AM (Commandants Room, 10th Floor)
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.
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Canadian Fertility Consulting_-large-230
Coffee break: 10:30-10:45 AM
Sponsored by Canadian Fertility Consulting
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Picking providers, budgeting and financial assistance: 10:45 AM - 12:00 PM (Commandants Room, 10th Floor)
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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Lunch / gay parenting expo: 12:00 - 1:30 PM (Crystal Ballroom, 11th Floor)
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 6:00pm. Lunch is sponsored by the San Diego Fertility Center.
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Breakout sessions - come meet the sponsors: 1:30 - 3:30 PM (10th Floor Rooms: Regimental, Heritage, Commandants, plus Crystal Lounge, 11th Floor)
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.

10th Floor: Commandants Room

10th Floor: Regimental Room

10th Floor: Heritage Room

11th Floor: Crystal Lounge

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1:30 pm
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Susanna Park, MD
Said Daneshmand, MD
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Leia Swanberg
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Brandon Bankowski, MD, MPH
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Victoria Ferrara, Esq.
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1:50 pm
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Susanna Park, MD
Said Daneshmand, MD
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Nici Shipway
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Brandon Bankowski, MD, MPH
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Steven Snyder, Esq.

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2:10 pm
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Guy Ringler, MD
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Diane Hinson, Esq.
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Vicken Sahakian, MD
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Donna Raidy
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2:30 pm
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Guy Ringler, MD
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Carl Herbert, MD
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Jennifer White
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Cora Jenson
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2:50 pm
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Mousa Shamonki, MD
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John Chally, JD
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Brad Spencer
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Christina Thursby
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3:10 pm
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Amy Kaplan
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John Chally, JD
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Peter Uzelac, MD
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Carly Gonzalez
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Break: 3:30-3:45 PM
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Optional private consultations: 3:30 - 8:30 PM (various suites on the 4th floor, 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.

Specialty panels

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3:45-4:30 pm

Commandants Room, 10th Floor

Regimental Room, 10th Floor

Heritage Room, 10th Floor

Budgeting: A closer look at medical insurance and surrogate compensation packages
Moderator: Ron Poole-Dayan / MHB board
- Diane Hinson, Esq.
/ Creative Family Connections
- Leia Swanberg
/ Canadian Fertility Consulting
- Steve Snyder, Esq.
- Rachelle Myers-Nelson
/ MHB’s Surrogates Advisory Committee
Medical workshop I: Choosing egg donors and creating optimal embryos
Moderator: Dr. Georges Sylvestre / MHB board
- Guy Ringler, M.D.
/ California Fertility Partners
- Dr. Brandon Bankowski, M.D.
/ Oregon Reproductive Medicine
Psychological and social issues during the surrogacy process
Moderator: Heather Jacobson, Ph.D., University of Texas at Arlington
- Qin Fan, Psy.D.
/ Clinical Psychologist, California Pacific Medical Center
- Elaine Gordon, Ph.D.
/ Clinical Psychologist, third party family building
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4:30-5:15 pm
Expert legal panel: Legal status of surrogacy across the USA and Canada, contracts, securing parentage rights
Moderator: Anthony Brown, Esq. / MHB board
- Tabitha Lundberg Koh, J.D.
- Ellen Trachman, Esq.
/ Colorado Surrogacy
- Deborah Wald, Esq.
/ The Wald Law Group
- Alex MacNab LLB,
/ Moe Hannah
Medical workshop II: choosing an optimal surrogate and making crucial decisions during the IVF process
Moderator: Dr. Georges Sylvestre / MHB board
- Susanna Park, M.D.
/ San Diego Fertility Center
- Dr. Mousa Shamonki, M.D.
/ Fertility & Surgical Associates of CA
Life After Birth: Resources and Family Support Services with Our Family Coalition
Facilitator: Polly Pagenhart, Our Family Coalition
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Gay parenting expo / networking reception: 5:15 - 6:00 PM (Crystal Lounge, 11th Floor)
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.