Egg Donor / Surrogacy Annual Weekend - Sydney 22-23 June · Growing Families


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Join Our Surrogacy & Egg Donor Event in Sydney

The only weekend of its kind in Australia, bringing together surrogates, donors, parents and intended parents, along with Australian and international family-building professionals – all under one roof.

Surrogacy & Egg Donor Event Details

Date: Saturday, 22 June 2024 to Sunday, 23 June, 2024
: Starts at 10:00am
Location: Sydney Central Hotel, 169-179 Thomas St, Haymarket, NSW
Tickets: Click below for prices
Hotel discount code: (10% off GRO220624O – you need to call or email to access)

*Discounted early bird tickets available until 10 May
*Surrogate & Donor Saturday tickets are free, but limited, so please register!


What to Expect at our Surrogacy & Donor Event?

This event is a unique chance to explore a range of options under one roof, get to know providers, and connect with parents, donors and surrogates.

For many, the path to parenthood is not straightforward. There are many hurdles, heartaches, lots of information and many people involved along the way. Every path to parenthood is unique and our Sydney events recognise that.

Talk with Experts Face-to-Face About Your Unique Situation

Interactive ‘Ask Me Anything’ panels, that include recent parents who have been on their alternate family building journey.

There will be networking opportunities and plenty of time to talk one on one with experts at their information stands to find out the different ways to fulfil your family building dream.

This event will guide you on:

  • Surrogacy & Egg Donor Options by Country
  • Medical & Donor Considerations
  • Legal Issues
  • Safety and support for intended parents, donors and surrogates

One-on-One Consultations:

Included with your ticket is the opportunity to arrange meetings with many experts. Read the profiles on each speaker and email us to arrange your consultation meetings.


*Ticket price includes:  one-on-one consultation with expert providers, lunch, afternoon tea, networking drinks and nibbles. The breaks each day & networking drinks provide an opportunity to freely talk with expert speakers, donor, surrogates, recent parents and children.


Sheila Vijeyarasa, Big Miracles

Sheila shares her IVF and donor egg conception journey.  Being part of Big Miracles drew out Sheila’s courage and resilience.  Sheila believes in living her truth and sharing her journey as a speaker, corporate trainer and the founder of the Brave Woman Program.

Katrina Hale, Katrina Hale Psychology and Consulting

Katrina Hale is a seasoned Sydney-based Psychologist and Infertility Counsellor with over two decades of counseling expertise, dedicated to supporting individuals from all backgrounds in their pursuit of family-building through surrogacy.

Shadi Kashaba's Photo

Dr Shadi Khashaba, IVF Australia

A father through surrogacy himself, Dr Kashaba is a leading voice in improving access to ART services for members of the LGBTIQ community.

Sassy Scott, Dad via USA

Scott O’Halloran, better known through his and his brother Luke’s hilarious podcast “Luke & Sassy Scott” have become the most relatable siblings in the world. Their varied audience grows daily from Selena Gomez to a family in the Ukraine once messaging them from bomb bunkers ‘Thank you for distracting our family and bringing so much joy and happiness in such difficult times’. But when Scott & his partner Marcus Sellen were ready to have a family, they turned to Growing Families for support. Scott will detail their incredible six-year rollercoaster ride through the US surrogacy landscape including COVID, Abortion laws changing, who and how to follow and trust the process.


10:00 AM – 10:05 AM


10:05 AM – 10:20 AM

What To Consider in Choosing a Path

Sam Everingham, Growing Families

What pathway is appropriate for my situation? Discusses vital issues in regard to success rates, timelines, availability, emotional, cultural and practical considerations

10:20 AM – 10:35 AM

Domestic Donor & Surrogacy Processes

Anna McKie, Surrogacy Australia

Provides a step-by-step overview of what is involved in domestic Donor IVF and surrogacy pathways

10:35 AM – 10:55 AM

IVF for those new to the process

Dr Shadi Khashaba, IVF Australia

Medical considerations & screening for egg and sperm providers. What can IVF specialists do to assess Sperm & egg quality prior to IVF? What impact does age have? What can I do to improve quality? Carrier screening, Discusses embryo development, blastocysts, grading, Pre-Genetic-Aneuploidy Testing and how embryos are selected for transfer.

Determining when Donor Eggs &/or Surrogacy are indicated

Dr Nick Lolatgis, Centre for Infertility Solutions, Melbourne

Many women go through years of unsuccessful IVF without their IVF doctor identifying the underlying problem. Why does this happen? When should a woman be considering donor eggs? What tests can be done to assess the viability of carrying a pregnancy? How old is too old to carry? Can the stimulation be commenced in Australia and donor eggs be used offshore? What are the benefits of using fresh vs frozen eggs?

10:55 AM – 11:10 AM

What To look For in an IVF Clinic

Sam Everingham, Growing Families

Knowing which IVF clinic is best for your needs can save years of heartache. Which have donors available? Which know how to work with surrogates? Which have easier paperwork requirements? How can I interpret success rates?

11:10 AM – 11:30 AM

Egg Donor Rules & Counselling in the Australian context

Moderator: Rebecca Featherstone
Panelists: Ian Trevallion, Dr Shadi Khashaba, IVF Australia

What requirements need to be met in regard to counselling, family limits, motivation, post-birth contact? Can my friend or relative donate? Can overseas donors come to Australia to donate? What about importing eggs from international clinics? How does counselling operate then?

11:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Morning Tea

12:00 PM – 12:25 PM

Donor & Donor Recipient Panel

Moderator: Ian Trevallion
Panelists: Sheila Vijeyarasa (Donor Egg Recipient), Amy White, Kate Page

An Australian mum via Donor IVF & egg donors discuss their motivations, relationships with recipients, counselling, experience with medications and what they went through. Includes Q&A.

12:25 PM – 12:45 PM

The Altruistic Headspace

Anna McKie, Surrogacy Australia

Provides a step-by-step guide to Australia’s friendship-based Surrogacy model

12:45 PM – 1:05 PM

Australian Surrogacy Laws & Parentage Orders

Sarah Bevan, Surrogacy Lawyer

What should be included in these, what is their purpose, do they differ by state? How does legal parentage work after Australian surrogacy? Can my surrogate be in a different state? Does she need to be an Australian citizen? Can we do the IVF part offshore?

1:05 PM – 1:30 PM

What Not to Put in an IP Profile

Moderator: Katrina Hale
Panellists: Felicity, Elisa, Anneliese

What makes a good IP profile? What do surrogates want to know about? What is inappropriate? What elements stand out? New surrogates provide their feedback. Parents who developed successful approaches share these. Includes Audience Q&A

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM


2:30 PM – 3:10 PM

Parent Panel

Moderator: Dr Alison O’Neill
Panellists: Tim, Trudy, Adam, David

Parents discuss their journeys via Domestic Surrogacy

3:10 PM – 3:35 PM

Counselling – Looking After All Parties

Katrina Hale, Infertility Psychologist

Counselling requirements, what counselling involves and how to look after yourself whether you are a surrogate or intended parent

3:35 PM – 4:05 PM

Afternoon Tea & Networking

4:05 PM – 4:50 PM

Surrogate & Surrogate Partners Panel

Moderator: Katrina Hale
Panelists: Kate, Kelly, Annaliese, Jorge, Anna

Given the morning sickness, weight gain, fatigue & unending medical appointments, what motivates them? Australian surrogates discuss their motivations, decision-making, what to look for in recipients, relationships and hurdles. How do their partners support them?

4:50 PM – 5:10 PM

Top Ten Challenges and How to Cope

Trudy Bateman, Sam Everingham

Post natal depression, Miscarriage, loss, communications breakdowns; interstate journeys

5:10 PM – 6:10 PM

Networking Drinks

6:10 PM – Late

Surrogacy Community Dinner

Venue: Pumphouse, 17 Little Pier Street, Darling Harbour
*This dinner is organized by the community and is not included in the ticket

9:30 AM – 9:35 AM


9:35AM – 10:00 AM

Considerations in Selecting a Country

Sam Everingham, Growing Families

Where can I engage? Timeframe costs, success rates. What are the pros and cons of each destination? How do timelines differ? Legal protections? How do costs compare? Are there fixed cost programs? How do surrogate relationships differ? What egg donors are available? Covers five jurisdictions.

10:00AM -10:10 AM

Considerations in Agency Selection

Heather Anderson, Growing Families

The MFI scandal in Greece demonstrated the importance of not ‘following the pack’. In certain nations, cultural norms make it difficult to recruit local surrogates. As a result, providers increasingly rely on ‘travelling’ surrogates from abroad. This comes with significant risks of exploitation. Learn what you need to do to avoid this.  

10:10 AM – 10:40 AM

Important Considerations in selecting an IVF clinic

Dr Vuk Jovanovic (USA), Dr Clifford Librach (Canada), Dr Kerry Mayrand (Canada)
  • What should international patients look for?
  • Why is medical screening so important?
  • What are the typical issues that are red flags/rule out a surrogate or donor?
  • What is genetic carrier screening & how popular is it?
  • Do international clinics insist on PGT-A testing of embryos?
  • How are success rates measured?

10:40 AM – 11:10 AM

Cultural Differences in Surrogacy Processes

Moderator: Sam Everingham
Panelists: Nir Keren (Canada, Argentina); Sophie Ukleba (Georgia, Mexico), Steven Swanepoel (US, Colombia); Liz Tripodi (Georgia)

How does surrogacy practice differ in English -speaking countries vs non-English speaking countries in regard to surrogate screening, care, reimbursement and contact pre and post birth? How do hybrid programs work?

11:10 AM – 11:40 AM


11:40 AM – 12:25 PM

International Parent Journeys

Moderator: Sam Everingham
Cameron (Canada); Nathan (Colombia); Komathy (USA); Emma (Georgia)

Recent parents discuss decision-making, surrogate relationships, disclosure to family, differences in medication regimes, cultural barriers, hurdles along the way, legal parentage, costs and a myriad of audience questions

12:25 PM – 12:50 PM

The Reality – Outcome for Kids

Moderator: Jasmine Hlongwane, Centre for Infertility Solutions, Melbourne
Panelists: Ruby, Will & Lexi

Teenagers born via international surrogacy discuss their lives, disclosure & their sense of self.

12:50 PM – 1:10 PM

Ask Me Anything – Break Out 1
Surrogacy in USA
Yang Jiao, Carolyn Meyer,
Trudy Bateman, Scott O’Halloran,
Steven Swanepoel, Damien Chambers (NewGen)
Ask Me Anything – Break Out 2
Surrogacy in Georgia
Sophie Ukleba, Liz Tripodi

1:10 PM – 1:30 PM

Ask Me Anything – Break Out 1
Surrogacy in Canada
Cindy Wasser, Nir Keren, Cameron Green
Ask Me Anything – Break Out 2
Surrogacy in Colombia or Mexico
Steven Swanepoel, Sophie Ukleba

1:30 PM – 2:10 PM


2:10 PM – 2:30 PM

Surrogacy in Argentina

Moderator: Heather Anderson, Growing Families
Panelists: Nir Keren, Sam Everingham,

What has changed? Are there hybrid programs? What requirements are there in relation to informed consents & birth certificates? What are the authorities’ attitudes to surrogacy? What delays are possible?

Audience Q&A

2:30 PM – 2:50 PM

International Surrogate Panel

Moderator: Steven Swanepoel
Panelists: Ali (USA); Natia (Georgia) Melissa (USA)

Surrogates discuss their motivations, expectations, journeys and contact with IPs and children

Citizenship & Passports Support

Roman Deauna, Far & Wide Migration

What are the processes required for newborns in acquiring travel documents. Is DNA testing still required? How do timelines differ? What are the typical hold-ups? How can a migration agent assist?

2:50 PM – 3:05 PM

Embryo & Sperm Shipping

Heather Anderson, Growing Families; Rodney Oldham PakAir

What are the dos and don’ts. Timelines, hand carry vs. freight, paperwork, possible hurdles and how to address them

3:05 PM – 3:25 PM

Legal Processes for Australians after Overseas Surrogacy

Sarah Bevan, Surrogacy & Family Lawyer

What countries present a challenge; what issues do intended parents need to address?

3:25 PM – 3:45PM

US Surrogacy – Surviving the Process

‘Sassy’ Scott O’Halloran

This hilarious gay dad and podcaster will detail his six-year rollercoaster ride which culminated in the birth of twins.

Navigating Childbirth in a warzone

Chris Crammond

One couple’s gripping account of why they chose Ukraine, extracting their surrogate from Kharkiv and their attempts to reach their newborn.

3:45 PM – 4:05 PM

Concierge Support to Smooth Your Journey

Sam Everingham, Anita Fiorenza, Growing Families

Meet Our Expert Speakers

Anna McKie
Surrogate & Support Manager, Surrogacy Australia
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Cindy Wasser
Hope Springs Fertility Law, Canada
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Damien Chambers
CEO, NewGen Families
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Dr Kerry Mayrand
Family Medicine Practicing in Women's Health - VRC, Canada
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Dr Nick Lolatgis
Medical Director, Centre for Infertility Solutions, Melb
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Dr Shadi Khashaba
Reproductive Endocrinologist, IVF Australia
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Dr. Clifford Librach
Create Fertility Centre, Canada
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Dr. Vuk Jovanovic
Medical Director, Tree of Life Center, USA
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Heather Anderson
Parent Support, Growing Families
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Ian Trevallion
Donor & Surrogacy Psychologist
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Katrina Hale
Surrogacy Psychologist
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Liz Tripodi
AU Rep, Chachava, Georgia
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Nir Keren
Babies Come True, Canada
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Rodney Oldham
General Manager, PakAir
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Roman Deauna
Migration Agent, Far and Wide Migration
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Sam Everingham
Global Expert & Growing Families Director
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Sarah Bevan
Sarah Bevan Family Lawyers, Australia
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Sophie Ukleba
Head of Operations, New Life Global
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Steven Swanepoel
Territory Manager, Tammuz Family Aust & NZ
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Family Members Sharing Their Stories

Adam Zuchetti
Dad via domestic surrogacy
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US Surrogate
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Amy White
Altruistic Egg Donor
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Local surrogate
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Dad via Canada
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Dad via Ukraine
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Dad via domestic surrogacy
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Elisa Ricordi
QLD traditional surrogate
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Mum via Georgia
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NSW Surrogate
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Partner of surrogate
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Kate Page
Local donor and surrogate
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NSW surrogate
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Mum via US surrogacy
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Lexie Smith
Teen via OS surrogacy
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Melissa Bamsey
US surrogate
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Dad via Colombia
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Natia Kharaishvili
Georgian surrogate
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Pre-teen via OS surrogacy to gay dads
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Sassy Scott
Podcaster & Dad via US
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Sheila Vijeyarasa
Mum via Egg Donation
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Tim & Sasha
Parent via Australia/US
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Mum via Domestic Surrogacy
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Teenager via surrogacy
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If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with us via email:

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