Moderator: Melissa B. Brisman
Esq., Owner, Reproductive Possibilities, LLC & Surrogate Fund Management, LLC
CFP® & President, Christopher Street Financial
Co-Founder & President, Fertility Within Reach
Director of Financial Planning, LearnVest
The costs of infertility treatments, adoption or other family building services can be overwhelming. Learn how to navigate health insurance to your benefit, gain critical l tips from financial planning experts and hear from those who have personal knowledge of how to effectively plan financially for the creation of your family.
Break: 11:15 - 11:30 am EDT
Melissa B. Brisman graduated Valedictorian from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and graduated with honors from Harvard Law School. She is an attorney admitted to practice in Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, and is a licensed certified public accountant.
Melissa first started helping couples become parents in 1996. Actually, she was her own first client, guiding and directing the process in which she and her husband, Dan, became parents of twin boys carried by a gestational carrier. A few years later, they had a daughter carried by another gestational carrier.
As a mother, Melissa is uniquely qualified. She understands the emotion and concern involved in creating a family and, as a lawyer, has successfully won many cases in this field. She has helped protect the rights of hundreds of parents who have had miracle babies using all available reproductive technologies.
Melissa is the first attorney to obtain court orders directing that the genetic parents be placed on the original birth certificates of their children born to gestational carriers in the State of Maine, in 1997, and the State of New Jersey, in 2000. She also argued and won landmark gestational carrier cases before the Supreme Court of Massachusetts in 2001 and the State Supreme Court of New York in 2004, setting legal precedents for birth orders in these states.
In 2003, Melissa was the first attorney to obtain a court order placing two women on the birth certificate of their child, without an adoption, in the State of New Jersey; and, in 2005, to place two men on the birth certificate of their children, born through a gestational carrier, without an adoption, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In 2008, she was also able to have two women who were validly married in Canada placed on the birth certificate of their child in the State of New York.
Melissa has been a keynote speaker at numerous events and organizational activities and for prestigious institutions across the country, including the New Jersey Society for Reproductive Nursing Specialists, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, Cornell Hospital and the Donor Egg Conference held each year in Charleston, South Carolina. Melissa has also served as a faculty member for the 2010 International Nursing Conference on Reproductive Health & Infertility. Melissa has served on the Boards of the American Fertility Association, Fertile Dreams and Conceive Magazine and has also been the legal advisor and a Board Member of Parents Via Egg Donation (PVED). Melissa is a Board Member of the LIVESTRONG Fertility Advisory Committee as well as a professional member of Resolve, the American Bar Association-Family Law Section-Reproductive and Genetic Technology Committee (ABA), the Egg Donation and Surrogacy Professional Organization (EDSPA), the Organization of Parents Through Surrogacy (OPTS), The Embracing Hope Scholarship Committee, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), and the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys (AAARTA).
Melissa was the recipient of the 2004 Star of Resolve Award and is a chapter author of Reproductive Medicine Secrets by Zev Rosenwaks. In 2006, Melissa B. Brisman’s law firm, Melissa B. Brisman, Esq., LLC was named as a finalist for the prestigious 2006 Forbes Enterprise Award. Melissa is also the author of numerous articles on the subjects of gestational carriers and reproductive law.
Melissa was invited to attend a governmental seminar in Taiwan. Melissa was asked to speak to the government officials who were looking at their surrogacy laws and procedures in Taiwan and provide legal information and guidelines to help guide them in the process of editing their current policies and laws.
Melissa drafts and negotiates contracts for many types of reproductive arrangements including gestational carrier contracts, ovum, sperm and embryo donation contracts and adoptions; works with international couples; finalizes same sex and step parent adoptions; obtains court orders for gestational carrier arrangements to allow the intended parents to go directly on the birth certificate of their child at birth; processes name changes; and reviews insurance books on behalf of intended parents and their gestational carriers.
In addition, Ms. Brisman is sole owner of Reproductive Possibilities, LLC, an agency that facilitates gestational carrier arrangements, and Surrogate Fund Management, LLC, a company that manages escrow in connection with reproductive arrangements.
Davina Fankhauser, a trained educator and counselor, is a long-term family and children’s advocate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Communications and a Master’s Degree in Education. She has experience managing the national helpline and online services for RESOLVE: The National Infertility Organization and has served as Director of Advocacy for Resolve of New England.
Davina has personally and professionally lobbied in support of fertility health benefit mandates at the Massachusetts and Maine State Houses. She led the strategic effort to update the Massachusetts Definition of Infertility in 2010 by working closely with legislators. In addition, Davina has lobbied for infertility health benefits, national funding and family-building legislation in Washington D.C. Davina has established supportive relationships with fertility patients, medical clinics, legislators, businesses and organizations working within the field.
The greatest accomplishment in Davina’s life is that she is a mother of two children, after 15 years of trying to build her much wanted family. For eight years she and her husband lived in states without insurance coverage mandates to diagnose and treat their infertility. She experienced, first hand, a lack of access to medically necessary care. This led to an undiagnosed medical condition that caused multiple miscarriages. Most of the treatment options Davina and her husband ultimately chose stemmed from financial pressures rather than medical recommendations. She has lived the cost associated with making such decisions.
Davina is driven to teach others how to advocate for themselves in the hope that they will be spared the pain and heartache known to accompany infertility, especially when denied access to timely and appropriate treatment. In addition she is passionate about helping youth preserve their reproductive health.
Jen is the President of Christopher Street Financial, the nation’s oldest life and wealth management firm dedicated to serving the needs of LGBT families and their supporters. In addition to developing solutions to the unique financial dilemmas of her clients, Jen manages Christopher Street’s team of professionals who provide specialized tax, estate, and financial planning services. Jen has over twenty-five years of experience on Wall Street and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™.
Stephany Kirkpatrick is the Director of Financial Planning at LearnVest Planning.