If you're in San Francisco or the surrounding area, clear your calendar this weekend. Two events are happening simultaneously that are significant for dads-to-be AND surrogacy advocates: the Men Having Babies San Francisco Conference, and the SF Advocacy and Research Forum for Surrogacy and LGBT Parenting (ARF). For an outlines of both events, check out below.
Men Having Babies San Francisco Conference
Men Having Babies (MHB) is hosting its annual MHB West conference this weekend, January 17-19 at the Marines' Memorial Club & Hotel. Co-hosted with their partners Our Family Coalition, the weekend will bring parent, surrogate and egg donor testimonies, along with on-site consultations available with clinics and agencies, panels on insurance and budgeting, as well as other opportunities to dip your toe into your surrogacy journey or dive right in.
One of the most popular aspects to the MHB conferences are their parent panels. Listening to stories from other dads who've gone through the journey is not only motivational and inspirational, it provides first-hand insight that many who are just starting out their journey crave. Everyone's family journey is unique but having dads share their experience has proved time and time again to be hugely beneficial. One of the dads on this year's panel is Aaron Almanza Ponce.
Aaron met his husband 8 years ago on an online dating website. The husbands have three children - two from Ricardo's previous marriage, and another through a surrogacy journey. "We did consider other options but I really desired having a child that would be biologically related to both my husband and myself," said Aaron.
For their journey, they were able to include one of the dads' siblings as both the donor and carrier, that way each of them have a biological connection to their youngest daughter who was born February 14, 2019.
The dads first learned about MHB through their surrogacy agency, HRC Fertility Rancho in Rancho Cucamonga California, one of the sponsors of the MHB West Conference. Despite Aaron and Ricardo being quite private about their surrogacy journey, they felt this was a great way to provide real-life experience to another single or couple considering the same path. "I think it not only gives the potential parents insight but it also inspires and gives them hope for building their own families."
"I went into this experience with the full knowledge that it may just not happen," continued Aaron, refering to his . "I soul searched and made peace with the idea that just as any other married couple would do, we would try and if it happened, wonderful, but if it didn't I would be ok with that too. What I wouldn't be okay with is never having made the attempt. I advise men to be open to your partners ideas and feelings, soul search, and if you are blessed buckle your seatbelts for the most terrifying, magnificent, and fulfilling journey you could ever imagine."
For registration details, tickets and all other info, click here.
SF Advocacy and Research Forum for Surrogacy and LGBT Parenting (ARF)
This will be the first time the MHB San Francisco West conference is launching its ARF program to coincide with its convention. Previously held in Brussels, New York, and now San Francisco, the ARF has proved to be popular and incredibly beneficial to surrogacy advocates and local interest groups.
While the conference outlined above focuses on providing guidance to prospective parents, the ARF program goes a step further and provides a meeting place for "committed surrogacy and gay parenting supporters, including parents, surrogates, researchers, professionals, and policymakers" as stated in their events page. The ARF is open - and free of charge although requires registration - to anyone who is interested in benefitting from and / or contributing to an ongoing discussion of the social, ethical, legal and empirical aspects of surrogacy and LGBT parenting.
Join the forum on late afternoon Friday January 17 for an overview of surrogacy related debates as well as a look at academic research on Surrogacy and LGBT Parenting, followed by welcome reception. Saturday will continue with in-depth discussions into legislative, advocacy, and research sessions. Sunday will close out with initiatives to promote ethical surrogacy.
Join MHB this weekend, January 17-19, in San Francisco for the conference and their ARF program. More details below.
2020 SF Surrogacy Conference
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SF Advocacy and Research Forum for Surrogacy and LGBT Parenting