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Chicago hosts surrogacy and gay parenting expo

Chicago hosts surrogacy and gay parenting expo

Gay men in the US’s Midwest interested in starting a family may want to attend a special expo aimed at gay would-be parents. The Surrogacy Seminar and Gay Parenting Expo will take place on Saturday 13 September 2014 between 10am and 7pm.

The event has been organized by LGBTI organization Men Having Babies, and will take place at The Center on Halsted – Chicago’s state-of-the-art LGBT center – in partnership with the Howard Brown Health Center.

Men Having Babies (MHB) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing current and future gay surrogacy parents with educational and financial support.

Following similar events in Paris, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tel Aviv and Barcelona, this will be the group’s first Midwest expo on biological parenting for gay men. The day’s program will include seminars such as ‘Surrogacy 101’, on-site consultations with surrogacy experts, networking and information on the Gay Networking Assistance Program (GPAP).

‘GPAP was created to promote affordable surrogacy services for gay men, the first such program to do so,’ said Ron Poole-Dayan, the executive director of Men Having Babies. ‘Gay men who lack the financial resources can find assistance via financial grants, access to free or discounted services. This year prospective gay dads from across the USA already received over $500,000 in grants and pro bono surrogacy related services from about 30 participating providers.’

‘We are very excited to finally bring our unique gay parenting program to Chicago,’ he told GSN. ‘We are thrilled by the large number of people who registered so far, and by the fact that even before the conference day we already started receiving applications from Midwestern prospective dads to our Gay Parenting Assistance Program.’

Besides commercial exhibitors, speakers at the surrogacy seminar will include gay men who have become dads, including Bill Eremia and his husband, Eric [pictured above]. The two have been together for 12 years, and married for the last six of those. They started their route to parenthood in 2008, and three years later, with the help of a surrogate mom, achieved their dream of becoming fathers to boy-girl twins: one being genetically related to Bill and the other to Eric.

One of the sponsors of the event is GayParentsToBe.com, and representatives from the site will be present at The Center on Halsted the day before the seminar (12 September from 2-7pm), and at the seminar itself, to offer consultations on financial and medical matters to the LGBTQ community.

‘For gay men, starting a family, and surrogacy in particular, can be overwhelming because there are so many questions and challenges to consider,’ says GayParentsToBe.com’s Dr Mark Leondires [pictured right], a Board Certified reproductive endocrinologist who has had two children with his husband. ‘I am proud to share my expertise and insights with the LGBTQ community as both a physician and a dad who worked with a gestational carrier. These consultations and the Men Having Babies Expo are opportunities for gay men to find answers and make a plan for their families.’

For more information on the Surrogacy Seminar and Gay Parenting Expo, check www.menhavingbabies.org