Men Having Babies, Inc. organized a surrogacy seminar and gay parenting expo on Sept. 13 at the Center on Halsted.
More than 50 couples perused the showcased fertility booths, attended the various workshops about finances and risk averseness, and convened with service providers to privately discuss child-bearing options. Since 2005, Men Having Babies has put on hundreds of workshops across the world to provide "educational and practical information to assist gay prospective parents achieve biological parenting."
About 20 tables featuring leading clinics, surrogacy agencies, specialized lawyers, and community organizations chatted with gay parents-to-be on Center of Halsted's third floor for most of the morning. Business present included CT Fertility, EMD Serono, Family Source Consultants, Fertility Center of Las Vegas, Ross & Zuckerman LLP, Howard Brown Health Center and Worldwide Surrogacy Specialists LLC.
In addition, the couples attended a workshop titled "Surrogacy 101" to learn more about the various surrogacy arrangements available for gay men, major decisions required by future parents and the timeline of a typical gestational surrogacy experience in great detail. Both a doctor specializing in in vitro fertilization ( IVF ) and a lawyer well-versed in surrogacy law addressed the couples, relaying information about choosing the best egg donor as well as going over the proper contracts specifying the rights of the surrogate, egg donor, service provider, gay couple and future child. During the last 20 minutes, a surrogate and gay parents with twins told their personal stories.
In the afternoon, expo attendees went to a second workshop to specifically learn about resources for support and financial assistance, emphasizing peer advice and highlighting the best online resources. Lastly, parents-to-be had the opportunity to sit down with doctors and lawyers as well as surrogacy experts from Men Having Babies to confidentially discuss each couple's options based on finances, genetic preferences, family support and all other factors.
Men Having Babies has approximately 1,500 couples on its mailing list and the number keeps growing. They have held workshops in Barcelona, Israel, New York City, Paris and San Francisco. This was the first workshop in Chicago and the non-profit plans on returning next year to educate more prospective parents on surrogacy. To learn more about Men Having Babies, Inc., visit www.menhavingbabies.com .