New York, NY (PRWEB) September 05, 2012
Men Having Babies, Inc., a New York based nonprofit organization, is hosting the eight annual NY Surrogacy Seminar and Expo on September 22, 2012. Signifying the steady increase in interest in this parenting option, the all day event is going to be the largest and most extensive program to date dedicated exclusively for gay prospective surrogacy parents. The event has already attracted an unprecedented number of clinics and agencies from across the USA and beyond (see list below), most of them will exhibit in New York for the first time. A number of supportive community organizations and media partners will also be present. “We are introducing an expanded format that for the first time will include 24 breakout sessions in addition to the expert and personal stories panels, a surrogacy and gay parenting exhibit, and a catered lunch,” said Ron Poole-Dayan, the organization’s executive director. “The breakout sessions will allow each prospective parent to choose up to six ‘speed group consults’ with sponsoring agencies and clinics.”
The event will take place at the LGBT Community Services Center on 208 West 13th Street in New York, from 10:30 am until 4:30pm on the 22nd. A full program and registration information are available at http://www.menhavingbabies.org/ny. “We are excited that a large number of early registrants come from people outside the NY metro area, including Washington DC, Boston, Chicago and as far away as Germany and Kenya,” said Dr. Jeffrey Parsons, a Men Having Babies board member. “And as always, we also welcome non-gay prospective parents who will no doubt highly benefit from the seminar and expo as well.”
Men Having Babies, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that was recently spun off from a program that ran at the NYC LGBT Center since 2005. It started as a peer support network for biological gay fathers and fathers-to-be, offering monthly workshops and an annual seminar. Over time, elaborate online resources were developed, the group’s mailing list expanded to about 1000 men from around the world, and it was asked to organize seminars, exhibits and workshops in other locations (the first European Men Having babies Seminar took place in April 2012 in Barcelona). The organization’s mission includes the provision of educational and practical information to assist prospective gay parents achieve biological parenting, and promoting the affordability of surrogacy and other parenting related services for gay men through financial assistance and the encouragement of cost transparency and customer feedback.
Men Having Babies has recently launched several new initiatives to promote its educational, advocacy and affordability mission, and they will be announced at a 9:30 am debut reception on the day of the NY seminar. Among these initiatives are the Gay Parenting Financial Assistance Fund, the SurrogacyAdvisor directory of reviews and ratings of agencies and clinics, a surrogacy Speakers Bureau, an October 1st fundraiser featuring comedians Judy Gold and Alyse Kenny (among others), and the ‘Living The New Normal’ community blog. The reception is open to the press, and will be attended by the event sponsors, board and committee members, and representatives of other supporting organizations.
“Most of these new initiatives have in common our desire to help make parenting possible for many gay men for whom the high costs of surrogacy have been a major obstacle,” said Anthony Brown, a Men Having Babies board member. “We are pleased that for the first time sponsorship proceeds of our NY Expo will help support the Gay Parenting Financial Assistance Fund.”
One of the most popular segments of the annual seminar has always been the personal stories panel, featuring parents, surrogates and egg donors. This year’s panel will be no exception, especially since Jessica Szalacinski, one of the surrogates featured, has met one set of parents she helped at a Men Having Babies workshop several years ago. Jessica gave birth to her first surrogacy child in 2009, and her second in 2011. “I knew that I’d be changing the lives of David and Alex, and then Matt and Art, but I couldn’t have imagined how this process would forever change mine. Through the joys and the journeys, I am forever grateful these couples have come into our lives and have become our extended family.” Jessica lives in Nashville with her husband and her son, and is currently finishing her Ph.D. in linguistics.
Art Halpern, one of the dads Jessica helped, will also be on the panel. “We always dreamed of creating a family, but we knew we could not do it alone,” said Art. “We needed our wonderful families, our exceptional friends, and extraordinary individuals like Jessica and our donor to realize our dream. The process started four years ago when we attended the Men Having Babies Expo with nothing but our hopes and dreams and questions in tow.” Art and Matt ended up being introduced to Jessica by the first couple she helped, David Milch and Alex (David will also speak at the seminar).
Also on the panel is Lisa Regula Meyer from Ohio, a mother of one and also a nearly-graduated doctoral student. “Having never really planned to be a parent until I unexpectedly became pregnant almost seven years ago, I nevertheless ended up helping to create 4 families through egg donation, and both gestational and traditional surrogacy,” said Lisa. The parents Lisa helped are two gay couples, one from Massachusetts, and one form upstate NY.
Please visit the event web page for more about the personal stories of the panelists, the profiles of the experts speaking on the panel and breakout sessions, the full event schedule, and more: http://www.MenHavingBabies.org/ny
Conference sponsors / exhibitors:
Supportive community organizations and media sponsors: