Surrogacy for Gay Men

'Men Having Babies' to Make Case for New York Surrogacy Reform

Come this Friday to hear how Men Having Babies and other advocates plan to pass surrogacy reform in NY

Three MHB members lobbying in Albany, with Senator Brad Hoylman, who led the passage of the Senate version of the bill

Since it's very first meeting in the form of a 2005 support group for biological gay dads and dads-to-be, Men Having Babies (MHB) has been advocating and educating folks on surrogacy. This has taken place in the form of many elements including conferences for those considering surrogacy, their Gay Parenting Assistance Program which helps fund many gay men undertaking the expensive surrogacy journey to fatherhood, and their extensive directory and review system on surrogacy agencies and clinics.

MHB has recently moved further to make their conferences a meeting place for committed surrogacy and gay parenting supporters, including parents, surrogates, researchers, professionals, and policymakers by creating the Advocacy and Research Forum for Surrogacy and LGBT Parenting (ARF). The program provides opportunities for formal and facilitated discussions about topics and developments relevant to parenting through surrogacy and / or by LGBT parents.

Now, in the aftermath of the stalled Child Parent Security Act (the CPSA bill), which was set to reverse the ban on compensated surrogacy in the state of New York, Men Having Babies have gone a step further. As part of the ARF initiative, this Friday November 8 in New York City, Men Having Babies welcomes folks to join them at an open to the public event: The Case for NY Surrogacy Reform.


MHB Executive Director Rob and other MHB activists handing out flyers in June at the Christopher Street subway to encourage Assemblymember Glick to support the CPSA

As part of the ARF initiative, this Friday November 8 in New York City, Men Having Babies welcomes folks to join them at an open to the public event: The Case for NY Surrogacy Reform.

"While we think it is the most comprehensive and thoughtful surrogacy legislation ever drafted, the CPSA also faced criticism and claims that not enough discussion has taken place about ethical concerns," said Ron Poole-Dayan, the Executive Director of Men Having Babies. His response, along with others, was to create Friday's event and "to offer historical and international perspectives on this debate, a review of relevant research findings, and a thorough analysis on how we think the proposed surrogacy legislation addresses core ethical issues and essential best practices,"

For the event this Friday in New York City, Men Having Babies has partnered with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, Family Equality Council, Stonewall Democrats of NYC, The Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys, and Equality NY among others. Together, they're assembling more than 30 speakers, and their goal is to contribute to an informed public debate on the issue, and bring in "a wide range of perspectives from surrogates, their young adult children, children born through surrogacy, academic researchers, representatives of national community organizations and international human rights organizations, and legal, mental health and medical experts."

Organizers are inviting lawmakers, community activists, professionals, academicians, students, parents and prospective parents to listen and offer feedback. More than 100 already registered.

The Senate passed the CPSA earlier this year, and it is likely to come up for a vote in the Assembly later this legislative season.

***

Brian Blitzer and Matt Merlin

Two intended parents, New Yorkers and husbands Matt Merlin and Brian Blitzer, are advocating to legalize surrogacy in the state of New York.

Although married for only two years, Matt and Brian have been together for more than 15. They both understood that children would be part of their future at some point, but didn't discuss it more in-depth until later in their relationship. They heard about Men Having Babies from several of their friends who had children through surrogacy and a few years ago, they decided to attend a conference.

"It was very overwhelming because there was so much to learn, including a whole new set of vocabulary," said Matt about the first time he attended. "The conference is really invaluable because we were able to absorb information by having in-person dialogues with surrogacy professionals and experienced surrogates/parents. You simply can't get that amount of face-to-face time at home on social media."

As they continued on their surrogacy journey, they became more aware and involved in the political side, and recently became advocates for the legalization of surrogacy in New York. (New York is one of the only remaining states where commercial surrogacy is not legal, along with Louisiana and Michigan).

"This spring, we went to Albany, the capital of New York, to lobby for surrogacy rights," said Matt. "We told stories about our personal struggle to become parents to several representatives from the state Assembly. Most representatives had little knowledge of the surrogacy issue at that time and had never met a gay couple pursuing surrogacy."

As huge supporters of Men Having Babies' ARF and the organization itself, the dads-to-be hope that by sharing their personal story and experience with lawmakers, they'll be able to incite change.

***

Photos of MHB members' lobbying efforts for the CPSA in spring 2019

If you are interested in joining this conversation, please attend The Case for NY Surrogacy Reform meeting this coming Friday, November 8, 4pm to 8pm, with registration opening at 3pm.

Venue: The Stewart Hotel, 371 Seventh Ave, New York City, NY 10001-3984

Registration: The program is open to the public free of charge, but requires registration.

People who already registered for the November 9-10 NY MHB conference need not register for the forum separately.

Agenda: https://www.menhavingbabies.org/advocacy/forum/ny/

Visit here to learn more about International Advocacy and Research Forum for Surrogacy and LGBT Parenting (ARF).

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"I want to show support for them. I think that's an important part of allyship, and I don't want to turn my back on them," Doolittle said during the interview.

Trump's treatment of a minority groups, generally, factored into his decision as well. "I have a brother-in-law who has autism, and [Trump] is a guy that mocked a disabled reporter. How would I explain that to him that I hung out with somebody who mocked the way that he talked or the way that he moves his hands? I can't get past that stuff."

Doolitttle clarified that his decision had little to do with policy disagreements with the White House. "There's a lot of things, policies that I disagree with, but at the end of the day, it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country. My wife and I stand for inclusion and acceptance, and we've done work with refugees, people that come from, you know, the 'shithole countries.'"

He concluded by saying he respected his teammates decision to attend the White house ceremony. "I want people to know that I put thought into this, and at the end of the day, I just can't go."

Read more of the Washington Post interview here.

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Governor Cuomo's office followed up the tweet with a lengthier statement posted to their website:

Once again the Trump administration is attacking the hard-earned rights and protections of the LGBTQ community, this time proposing a new measure that would give foster care and adoption agencies license to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Trump's proposal isn't just discriminatory and repugnant to our values — it's also heartless and dumb as it would deny countless children a loving family and a safe place to call home. If he moves forward with this rule, we'll take legal action to stop it.

No matter what happens in Washington, New York State is and will continue to be a beacon of equality in this country. Our Human Rights Law and adoption regulations expressly prohibit discrimination against the LGBTQ community, including when it comes to adoption. I encourage any LGBTQ New Yorker who feels they are a victim of this discrimination to contact the State Division of Human Rights for assistance.

Our message to the Trump administration is simple: there is no place for hate in New York or in our nation, and we will not allow this noxious proposal to stop LGBTQ New Yorkers from becoming parents or providing care to children in need.

Fatherhood, the gay way

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