This year’s day-long event is going to be the largest and most extensive program for prospective surrogacy parents ever. The independent nonprofit organization Men Having Babies is hosting an unprecedented number of clinics and agencies (16 so far, and counting) from all across the USA and beyond, alongside a number of supportive community organizations. The program will include expert and personal stories panels, a surrogacy and gay parenting exhibit, a catered lunch, and 24 breakout sessions. The exhibit and breakout sessions will allow attendees to personally meet and hear from the various agencies and clinics, never before assembled under one roof. The event will also mark the debut of the Gay Parenting Financial Assistance Fund, which will benefit from the event’s sponsorship proceeds.
- Admission is $10 (free for pre-registered out of town guests)
- Register now: MenHavingBabies.org/ny
- Facebook event: facebook.com/events/508288702518239
About the Gay Parenting Financial Assistance Fund of Men Having Babies (MHB):
Men Having Babies, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that was recently span of from a program that ran at the NYC LGBT Center since 2005. The group started as a peer support network for biological gay fathers and fathers-to-be, offering an annual seminar and monthly workshops. Over time it developed elaborate online resources, and the mailing list expanded to almost 1,000 men from around the world, and we were also asked to organize seminars, exhibits and workshops in other locations (the first European Men Having babies Seminar and Gay Parenting Expo took place April 29-30 in Barcelona).
MHB’s mission includes the provision of educational and practical information to assist gay prospective 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 transparency and customer feedback.
The reality is that due to biological and social constraints, gay men as a category face the most obstacles in their quest for parenting, not the least of which is financial. Heterosexual couples, single women and lesbian couples can become biological parents relatively easily, and those who need more advanced infertility services can approach the dozens of foundations that provide financial assistance to infertile people. However to date there was not a single comparable fund to assist gay men, who are not considered “infertile” even though they need substantial third party assistance in order to become parents.
In an effort to promote transparency and affordability, MHB gathered hundreds of surveys that provided feedback and ratings of agencies and clinics. MHB found that gay parents spend an average of about $110k on their parenting journey, and that many have underestimated the required costs by ten thousand dollars or more. It is not surprising that about 50% of responding intended parents have expressed an interest in financial assistance to people who cannot afford the entire process.
I grew hearing, “grow up, get married, have kids” and for the longest time I didn’t think it was possible. When my husband and I started talking, really talking, about having children, our only option was adoption. There are so many children in the world who need loving parents and we had accepted that this was probably the way we would realize out dream of having a family.
Then we heard about Men Having Babies at the GLBT Center in New York City. We attended a few meetings and realized that our dream was to have our own biological child. We dealt with friends and family who weren’t judgmental, but couldn’t understand why we didn’t just adopt. Having your own biological child is perhaps the most natural instinct a human can have, and that is how we were able to explain our decision to those who needed further explanation.
The amazing amount of useful information we received from the Men Having Babies group was exactly what we needed to navigate through the surrogacy process and to ask the right questions of the service providers we chose to assist us. I felt as though Ron, the Men Having Babies coordinator, was our fairy godfather and Men Having Babies will always have a special place in my heart.
The only problem that my husband and I had was that we simply couldn’t afford to have our family through surrogacy. The process was simply too expensive. We were fortunate enough to have had a very special friend who, upon her death, left us the money we needed to start the surrogacy process, but I know that our situation is the exception the rule. If there had been some type of surrogacy financial assistance program when we were planning our family, we would have certainly taken advantage, and I am sure that there are others like my husband and me out there waiting for their families who would have done the same.
Anthony M. Brown