A group for women and trans couples and individuals, along with a new class for men — cis and trans — are starting next month to provide prospective parents information and support.
The Maybe Baby program is led by Therapy Center of Philadelphia and Hornstein, Platt and Associates, along with Philadelphia Family Pride, an organization for LGBT-headed families.
Starting March 14, a group for queer, lesbian or bi women and trans communities will meet at TCP, and queer, gay or bi cisgender or transgender men are invited to a similar group at Hornstein. Trans men are invited to attend either group.
The groups will meet every Monday through May 2, and will fuse information, discussion and support for individuals and couples who are at all stages of the family-building process.
PFP executive director Stephanie Haynes said the inaugural women’s group last year was a success.
“It was great. We had several couples participate each week and got great feedback about how they really enjoyed talking to each other, comparing stories about where they were in their journeys,” she said, noting that organizers intended to launch a men’s version from the beginning.
“It was always our intent to have two different classes,” Haynes added. “The reason for the two separate groups is that there are some big differences in the options men and women have for making a baby. The men’s group will focus more on adoptions, with information on surrogacy as well. And then the women’s group, a lot of the talk last year focused on pregnancy and inseminating at home and conversations that don’t have relevance for the gay-men crowd.”
The format for both groups will be similar: Four of the eight sessions will include a guest speaker who will share his or her expertise — such as legal, financial, fertility, adoption or medical — with time for questions.
Confirmed sponsors include Reproductive Medicine Associates of Philadelphia, whose Dr. Jaqueline Gutmann will lead one of the sessions.
Non-speaker classes will encourage discussion, story-sharing and relationship-building among the group members.
In a testimonial, one woman who participated last year said, “Though my partner and I are several years from having children, this group has been an invaluable way for us to learn about all of our options and seek support and guidance from other couples who are going through the same thing before we do it.”
“Anyone — LGBTQ or not — who is entering parenthood has so many questions, fears and anxieties,” Haynes added. “Getting together with other people who are in the same boat can be affirming and reassuring. It’s like, ‘We’re all going through this together.’”
Group members have included people just starting to consider becoming parents and others who are farther along in the process — which Haynes said allows for important information-sharing.
“It’s important as a queer or trans person to know how to navigate the process: what to look for in a fertility doctor, an adoption agency. Hearing from others who have gone down that path and come out the other side gives you a sense of communication and connections.”
Deidre Ashton and Julie Lipson will co-facilitate meetings for LBQ women and trans communities will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. Mondays from March 14-May 2 at TCP, 1315 Walnut St. Chris Wilson will lead the meetings for GBTQ men at Hornstein, 255 S. 17th St., Suite 1010, at the same days and times.
The program is $320 a couple or $160 per individual for non-PFP members, or $240 a couple or $120 for PFP members. Register for PFP at www.phillyfamilypride.org.
For more information on the women’s group, call 215-567-1111. For information on the men’s group, call 267-507-1310.