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Men Having Babies Adds Atlanta to Its 2024 Conference Lineup in Collaboration with Black and Southern LGBTQ Organizations

On February 23-25, 2024, the nonprofit Men Having Babies (MHB) is teaming with the LGBTQ Institute and additional regional nonprofits to bring to Atlanta its internationally acclaimed Surrogacy Conference & Gay Parenting Expo. It will be MHB’s fifth United States destination, joining long-running conferences in New York, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, and San Francisco, as well as Brussels and Berlin in Europe.

Offering unparalleled education, financial assistance and advocacy outreach, the nonprofit Men Having Babies (MHB) is a leading voice for equality and equity for gay fathers in the United States and beyond. A planning process embarked by the organization determined that residents of the South, as well as the Black LGBTQ community nationwide, do not enjoy the desired level of access to the educational and financial resources it offers. “Following numerous conversations with MHB members and allies from the South, as well as consultations with Black LGBTQ organizations, we determined that a conference in Atlanta would be the most effective way to better reach these underserved communities,” said Ron Poole-Dayan, MHB’s Executive Director.

Men Having Babies was spun-off in 2012 from a program at New York City’s LGBT Center, and it is mainly known for the series of conferences it offers worldwide. In these three-day events the organization’s staff and board members, the majority of whom are fathers or former surrogates, share a wealth of knowledge with gay men aspiring to become fathers. Attendees benefit from peer guidance; expert advice; information about financing, grants and resources; inspirational testimonies; and an opportunity to meet dozens of reputable clinics, agencies, law firms and other complementary service providers.

The organization champions an Ethical Framework to ensure that the rights and long-term wellbeing of all involved parties are safeguarded. MHB also strives to broaden legal and financial accessibility to ethical parenting options for gay men through a robust financial assistance program, and advocacy for legislation and other initiatives to remove discriminatory practices and advance Fertility Equality.

With a growing, vibrant LGBTQ+ community of about 200,000, Atlanta is already among the most gay-friendly cities in the South and is considered a top destination for LGBTQ+ visitors. The hometown of Martin Luther King Jr., Atlanta is also known as a Black gay destination, with the world’s largest Black Gay Pride celebration. “We are thrilled to announce that the opening day of the conference will be held at Atlanta’s iconic National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and co-hosted by The Center’s LGBTQ Institute,” said Jenny Congiardo, MHB’s Director of Operations. “In addition, conference attendees will have exclusive access to The Center’s exhibits on the opening night.”

“We are proud to support MHB’s work to expand access to critical resources for Black gay men that empower them to become parents,” said Tim’m West, executive director of the LGBTQ Institute. “The Atlanta Surrogacy Conference & Gay Parenting Expo aligns with our mission to create dynamic experiences that build empathy and inspire folks to safeguard the rights of all people everywhere.”

While MHB prides itself on bringing unbiased guidance and expert advice to prospective parents wherever its conferences are held, an equal goal is to make sure the program is customized based on regional and cultural needs, and that local service providers are also featured. “The Atlanta MHB conference is taking our commitment to featuring community-friendly local businesses a step further by teaming up with OUT Georgia Business Alliance to collaboratively offer a Resource Fair on Sunday, February 25,” said Sara Miller, MHB’s Director of Business Development and Programming.

“OUT Georgia is excited to welcome MHB’s Surrogacy Conference & Expo to Atlanta, where we’ll collaborate on distinct ways to bring LGBTQ+ small businesses, organizations, and experts together in support of gay parents and families in the South and around the World,” said Chris Lugo, Executive Director of OUT Georgia Business Alliance.

Additional supporting community organizations, including Metro Atlanta Association of Professionals (MAAP) and Georgia Voice will be present at the Sunday Resource Fair as well.

Katie Burkholder, Editor of Georgia Voice, said: “The Georgia Voice is a proud sponsor of Men Having Babies, and we are so excited for Atlanta to host the Surrogacy Conference and Gay Parenting Expo next year. During a time where attacks against the LGBTQ community – particularly LGBTQ youth and parents – are rising in conjunction with heavier policing on family planning due to stringent abortion laws in the Southeast, the community and resources Men Having Babies provides are more critical than ever.”

Atlanta’s conference will begin on the afternoon of Friday (February 23, 2024) at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights with a “Surrogacy 101” session that explains the basics of a surrogacy journey to help dispel myths and misconceptions. The conference will continue Saturday and Sunday (February 24-25) at the Omni Atlanta at CNN Center, with opportunities for attendees to dive deeper into the medical, legal, and financial aspects of surrogacy, including guidance on how to make informed decisions. Other sessions include specific guidance for single dads-to-be, and shared perspectives of gay dads, surrogates, an egg donor, and a discussion panel of teens who were born via surrogacy.

MHB’s advocacy involvement will be reflected in several sessions as well. A session about “Social Attitudes Towards Surrogacy” will be dedicated to examining surrogacy ethics and cultural biases that allow the tolerance of legislation and practices that discriminate against gay fathers. Other sessions will be dedicated to ways in which prospective fathers can make the process more affordable. Topics will include how to budget smartly, how to take advantage of financial assistance and member discounts by MHB, and how to take advantage of, or advocate for, coverage of surrogacy-related medical costs at the workplace.

Proceeds from the conference’s sponsorship fees benefit MHB’s Gay Parenting Assistance Program (GPAP), which annually provides prospective parents with over a million dollars’ worth of cash grants, discounts, and free services from over 140 leading service providers.

For more information and tickets: menhavingbabies.org/atlanta.