The Network of European LGBT Family Associations (NELFA) will host the first “Men Having Babies – Europe” Surrogacy Seminar and Gay Parenting Expo on April 29, 2012. It will take place in Lloret de Mar, near Barcelona, Spain, as part of a 4-day conference and family gathering expected to attract hundreds of LGBT parents and parents-to-be. More than a dozen leading USA and European clinics and surrogacy agencies already signed up as sponsors and exhibitors, recognizing the growing interest in surrogacy in Europe.
The full day elaborate seminar and exhibit will offer a comprehensive “how-to” program for gay men who want to become parents. Among the speakers will be experts in the medical, psychological, legal and practical aspects of the surrogacy process, along with a surrogate mother and gay surrogacy parents. Prospective parents and LGBT family activists will also have opportunities to learn about service providers at the Gay Parenting Services Exhibit before and after the seminar. In addition, eight leading agencies and clinics from the United States and Europe will offer hour-long presentations on Sunday and Monday afternoon. Among the topics are ethical surrogacy practices, international surrogacy laws, know vs. anonymous egg donations, and speaking to surrogacy kids about their origin. While prospective parents are encouraged to join the hundreds of families attending the gathering for its full length, a one-day attendance including meals is offered for a small fee (ÃƒÂ¢?Ã‚Â¬25).
“We highly recommend that prospective parents join us for the full four day gathering,” said Elisabeth Vendrell, president of FLG, the hosting LGBT Families organization in Catalonia. “If you are either prospective parents or already have children, the LGBT Families gathering can be a terrific opportunity to meet hundreds of parents and parents-to-be from more than a dozen countries.” The organizers expect about 800 participants (having already received more than 400 bookings), and the group will take over a hotel in the resort town of Lloret de Mar, to enjoy a combination of social, educational and fun activities, including sightseeing excursions in Barcelona and elsewhere. “Thanks to the generous support of government and private sponsors this all-inclusive program is also very affordable,” said Ms. Vendrell, “a typical family of four will only spend about ÃƒÂ¢?Ã‚Â¬300 including all meals and excursions.”
The parenting seminar and expo is offered based on a similar program that has been running in NY for the last seven years. “In recent years we have witnessed a growing interest in surrogacy among European gay men,” said Ron Poole-Dayan, the coordinator of the Men Having Babies network that organizes the NY program. “We were happy to assist our European friends to assemble a program that is in fact more comprehensive than the one we have been offering in NY,” he said.
Around the continent there are dramatic social changes with advances in LGBT rights, visibility and social acceptance, and a growing desire to become parents. Leading and benefiting from these trends are the LGBT family associations around the continent, many of whom established in the last few years. The umbrella organization, NELFA, grew from 7 members in 2009 to 20 today. In the first European wide conference in Paris over 500 people participated, and the event enjoyed unprecedented attention from public figures and the media.
> For more information and to register to the Men Having Babies seminar go to: http://www.MenHavingBabies.org/europe
> For more information and registration for the Second European LGBT Families Gathering in Catalonia go to: http://www.MenHavingBabies.org/catalonia2012
About the Network of European LGBT Families Organizations (NELFA)
The Network of European LGBT Families Associations (NELFA) was created in 2009 to bring together the associations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parents and their children from European nations under one organization. While strong organizations in places like the Netherlands, Germany, France and Spain have been around for a decade or more, and already represent tens of thousands families, many new “Rainbow Families” organizations have been created in recent years in countries such as the UK, Italy, Switzerland, Portugal and Hungary. Since its formation NELFA grew from 7 members to 20 associations from 17 different countries.
More information: http://www.NELFA.org
The objective of the Second European LGBT Families Conference
The Second European Conference on LGBT Families will combine presentations, workshops, shared life experiences and leisure time. We are expecting between 700 and 800 people from different European countries and beyond. Our main objective is to empower social change, make our families visible, and have an impact on the media in our respective countries. We work together with other organizations and governments to address inequality suffered by LGBT families and their children and spread the achievements of LGBT rights across the continent.
More information: http://www.familieslgtb2012.org