As Illinois Expands IVF Coverage to LGBTQ+ Families, Prospective Gay Fathers Across the Midwest Will Again Gather at the Men Having Babies Chicago Conference

Men Having Babies 2021 Midwest Surrogacy Conference & Expo Chicago, October 9, 2021

Men Having Babies 2021 Midwest Surrogacy Conference & Expo Chicago, October 9, 2021

Special attention will be given to the new opportunities brought about by the new Illinois bill (HB3709), the first in the nation to update the state’s existing infertility insurance law to be fully inclusive of same-sex couples and single parents.

The Midwest Surrogacy Conference & Expo is typically one of several events the nonprofit organization Men Having Babies (MHB) holds annually in a number of cities across the U.S. and internationally. These events include peer guidance, expert advice, information about financing and grants, inspirational testimonies from surrogates and fathers, and an opportunity to meet dozens of reputable surrogacy providers.

However, for the first 18 months of the pandemic MHB was largely unable to hold such events, and instead used specialized virtual conference technology to offer guidance to the best of our abilities,. This fall the organization introduced a robust COVID-safety model that allowed it to renew in-person events, starting with the New York conference on September 18-19. “Our goal is to ensure the health and safety of all participants, while allowing optimal engagement and the immersive experience our conferences are known for,” said Ron Poole-Dayan, MHB’s Executive Director.

MHB’s COVID-19 measures include requiring full vaccination and masking, providing onsite rapid testing, and using careful catering practices. In a satisfaction survey attendees from the New York conference rated their overall experience at 9.4/10, and the organization’s COVID response and safety protocols at 9.5. “This conference is extremely useful for intended parents considering surrogacy journey. I liked the in person meeting so much, I enjoyed the direct one on one interaction with presenters and many providers,” stated Harry Lesmana, one of the event attendees.

Dr. Angeline Beltsos of Vios Fertility Institute, a Platinum Sponsor at the conference, said, “Despite the challenges of this past year, MHB has continued to bring a wealth of education and financial options to enable men who wish to become dads to do so without delay. We are proud to be part of the Men Having Babies community and to help all who seek to build a family with innovative, scientific, cutting-edge treatment options.”

The full-day event will kick off with workshops and panels that compare the destinations where gay men can find surrogates to help them become parents, and provide guidance on how to plan a surrogacy journey. Special attention will be given to the new opportunities brought about by the new Illinois bill (HB3709) that will take effect on January 1, 2022. The bill is the first in the nation to update the state’s existing infertility insurance law to be fully inclusive of same-sex couples and single parents. It does so by using the LGBTQ-equitable definition of “infertility” that MHB has been advocating for, along with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Organization, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights. The new definition refers to infertility as not just to a “disease” or “condition,” but also a status. In particular, the bill states that infertility can be characterized by “a person’s inability to reproduce either as a single individual or with a partner without medical intervention.” Therefore, starting 2022, eligible gay men may be able to save thousands of dollars on their surrogacy journey.

This advocacy work is part of MHB’s primary goal to broaden access to affordable parenting options for gay men. Several conference sessions will be dedicated to ways in which prospective parents can budget smartly, take advantage of financial assistance and member discounts by MHB, and discover opportunities to receive coverage of surrogacy related medical costs as part of their employee benefits.

Proceeds from the conference’s sponsorship fees benefit MHB’s Gay Parenting Assistance Program (GPAP), which provides dozens of prospective parents with over a million dollars’ worth of cash grants, discounts and free services on an annual basis, from over 120 leading service providers.

“Men Having Babies remains an organization committed to facilitating the surrogacy process for gay men by bringing them together with comprehensive information about the process and a rare opportunity to receive objective information about many providers on their rating pages,” said attorney Steve Snyder, the owner of Platinum Sponsor IARC Surrogacy.“ The organization’s commitment to the welfare of its members is clearly shown by their financial assistance programs.”

The majority of the 23 exhibitors at the MHB Midwest conference are supporters of GPAP, as well as the organization’s Membership Benefits Program, including Platinum sponsors Vios Fertility Institute and IARC Surrogacy, and Gold conference sponsors: Circle Surrogacy, Worldwide Surrogacy Specialists, Same Love Surrogacy, San Diego Fertility Center, Golden Surrogacy, Private Label Surrogacy, Gift of Life Surrogacy, and Family Source Consultants.

Full event information:
Men Having Babies 2021 Midwest Surrogacy Conference & Expo
October 9, 2021, 9:00 AM- 7:00 PM
Center on Halsted, 3656 North Halsted, Chicago
Registration: menhavingbabies.org/chicago
See here for full COVID-19 Safety Protocols

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