Good loving parents are some of my most favourite people, and this new summit coming to Toronto can help gay men achieve that.

Men Having Babies is a non-profit, and their board and staff are comprised of gay dads and surrogates.

Since 2005 their monthly workshops and the annual NY Men Having Babies seminar provided hundreds of gay men a comprehensive overview of surrogacy by panels of experts and peers. Starting in 2012, they have been offering larger conferences in cooperation with LGBT parenting associations in Barcelona, Paris, Tel Aviv, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Brussels, Miami / Fort Lauderdale, Austin and Dallas, with proceeds for conference sponsorship fees benefiting their Gay Parenting Assistance Program. They also support surrogacy options in both the US and Canada.

This the first time they are holding a summit in Canada, so I was excited to chat with Shelly Marsh about the upcoming event.

Why is this important work?

Since our incorporation as a non-profit in 2012, Men Having Babies has been the leader in providing education and financial assistance for men choosing to start their families through gestational surrogacy. The organization’s Gay Parenting Assistance Program (GPAP) annually provides dozens of couples with over a million dollars worth of cash grants, discounts and free services from over fifty leading service providers. Each year over a thousand attendees benefit from unbiased guidance and access to a wide range of relevant service providers at its monthly workshops and conferences worldwide. We believe that when done ethically, surrogacy can be a positive, affirmative, and empowering arrangement for everyone involved. Therefore we have been actively engaged in creating an ethical framework and best practices for surrogacy. We are gay parents and surrogates who got together to make the dream of parenthood a wider reality for more gay men — and in the process to make society a better place for all.

What level of success have Men Having Babies experienced over the years?

Our Gay Parenting Assistance Program has been able to help couples with pro-bono services and cash grants, and now 32 babies have been born to same sex male couples and gay singles who otherwise couldn’t afford the surrogacy process. Our conferences have been selling out and now 3 locations will have a new venue un 2019 (Chicago, New York and Brussels). We are implementing new conference locations to bring the education to a broader reach, 2018 we will visit Toronto for the first time and in 2019 we will visit Taipei and bring parenting options to Asian gay men! Exciting things are happening and we could not do any of it with out our donors, conferences sponsors and provider partners!

What is to be expected at the Toronto event coming up?

The Toronto conference is dedicated to those interested in learning about surrogacy in Canada. Canadian, American and other nationals will also have the opportunity to get to know a select group of Canadian surrogacy providers at the Gay Parenting Expo, the various expert panels, and even in private consultations. For gay men who want to become parents through surrogacy, the Men Having Babies educational conferences are a rare opportunity to get under one roof a wealth of information, advice and access a wide range of relevant service providers — and from an unbiased non-profit organization. The conference is hosted and co-sponsored by The 519, Toronto’s LGBTQ community center. As always, proceeds from sponsorship and exhibiting fees will benefit the Gay Parenting Assistance Program.

What research is out their about gay parenting?

Most of our conference benefit from an expert panel titled: A mindful look at surrogacy – Psychological and Ethical aspects. In these sessions we examine how we feel about surrogacy: the meanings and significance people tend to attribute to surrogacy in their lives, with a special focus on surrogates’ perspective. We also present recent research on surrogacy, and evidence from studies about the way surrogacy affects the welfare of the child, the surrogate, and her family. We will also look at programs meant to encourage a more mindful surrogacy experience, such as MHB’s Framework for Ethical Surrogacy.

Great service Shelly thank you for the chat and all the best on the event. 

The conference takes place at The 519 on October 27, starting at 11:30am and finishing at 7pm

Facebook event page and to get tickets

About the Author

Antoine has on numerous occasions said that everything he does is "a love letter to the LGBTQ community". and he truly loves this community. A 29 years' media and marketing leader, Antoine is the publisher of theBUZZ, The Pink Pages Directory, PinkPlayMags, and a magazine for Durham Region families The Local Biz Magazine, and is the host of talk show "On the Couch". On his off time he is usually involved in community organizations and causes.