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Our Family Creation Team

"ConceiveAbilities was the only part of our journey that was virtually stress-less. The professionalism was refreshing." -Katie & Barry

Meet your team of family creation experts.

The educated and qualified experts of the ConceiveAbilities team remain true to the agency’s guiding principles. Our values extend to our core belief: everyone deserves a family. Many of our staff experts have gained a deeper appreciation for our clients’ challenges through their own family creation obstacles. These personal and professional insights help us gain an intimate understanding of our clients’ needs and allow us to deliver unparalleled service.

Nazca Fontes • CEO

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With nearly 25 years of experience in the infertility industry, Nazca has managed all operations of ConceiveAbilities since she founded the company in 1996. A thought leader in the industry, she is frequently interviewed about surrogacy and egg donation, and travels the globe promoting the highest level of professional standards in a constantly evolving field. Nazca holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Holistic Health from the University of Redlands, and in her spare time enjoys travel, biking, and trying to keep up with her two sons.

Linda Hedenberg, MBA • COO

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Linda began working with ConceiveAbilities as a strategy consultant during a significant growth period, and was thrilled when the opportunity arose to join the team as COO. With operations, business development, and consulting experience in many areas of healthcare, she is excited by the ever-expanding options and growing social acceptance of third-party reproduction, and she believes that ConceiveAbilities’ team of professionals is by far its greatest asset. Linda holds an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and a BS in Communications and Psychology from Juniata College. She divides her time between ConceiveAbilities’ main offices in Chicago and Denver, and uses her downtime to enjoy golf, cooking, Colorado’s mountains and wildlife, and travel to every new place she can possibly go.

Deborah Levy, MA, LPC • Director of Gestational Surrogacy

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After building her own family through the generous gift of surrogacy, Deb dedicated her career to helping others navigate alternative paths to parenthood. Deb’s experience within the field of reproductive medicine includes advising and advocating for hundreds of infertility patients, assessing egg donors and surrogates, and managing support groups, workshops and retreats. Helping couples cope with the unique stresses of infertility is a primary focus of her work. Deb works tirelessly as a member of several advisory boards and has published and lectured on topics including egg donor screening, gestational surrogacy, coping with stress, marital stability during infertility, and helping children understand third party reproduction. She received her master's degree from the University of Colorado and loves spending time with her two children.

Kristin Welch, RN, BSN • Intake Team Manager

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With laser-like focus, Kristin is on a mission to find, educate, and guide the most extraordinary surrogate and egg donor candidates through our extensive screening process. As manager of the ConceiveAbilities intake team, Kristin is committed to ensuring each client and applicant receives the highest level of service possible. As a registered nurse and former educator, Kristin has experience working with individuals through a variety of life stages. Her own journey as a gestational carrier with ConceiveAbilities sparked her career move to help people achieve their dream of building a family. Originally from Texas, Kristin earned her BS in Nursing from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. She enjoys any activity with the loves of her life – her husband, two sons and daughter.

Alicia Denefe, MBA, MS, LCPC • Matching Matters

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After many years in the business world, Alicia experienced her own journey through infertility. This led her to embark on a new career dedicated to the support of intended parents. Alicia’s sophisticated blend of warmth, understanding and balanced perspective makes her a well-respected and trusted professional among clients, staff and partners. Many clients remember Alicia years after achieving their reproductive goals, and some team members first developed their desire to work for ConceiveAbilities after meeting her. Alicia holds a BA from the University of Notre Dame, an MBA from Loyola University, and an MS in Counseling from National Louis University. She enjoys live Chicago theater, vinyasa yoga, reading and spending time with her two teenage children.

Tisha Bean-Wilcox, MA, LPC, CAC II

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Tisha is a Licensed Professional Counselor and has worked in many different capacities over the years. She holds a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from The University of Denver. Tisha has also been a StandOut Surrogate twice for ConceiveAbilities, which created her passion for her job. Her role facilitating surrogate and egg donor psychological consultations, monthly support groups, and match meetings between intended parents and surrogates, allows her to utilize her professional and personal experience and have compassion for all parties involved. In her free time, Tisha enjoys spending time with her family, outdoor activities, reading and traveling.

Susan Bernard • Match Administration/Bookkeeping

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Susan brings extensive customer service, accounting, and office management experience to the ConceiveAbilities team. She is passionate about keeping our clients happy, and it shows in her attention to detail as she manages their financial accounts. Susan holds a Bachelor of Economics degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Three boys and a girl dog keep her very busy, but in her free time, she enjoys travel, music and the occasional night out dancing. Move over Shakira!

Kristin Catral • Team Lead Match Manager

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Having worked in education, and as a former ConceiveAbilities egg donor, Kristin possesses understanding of the process and a commitment to timely and effective communication. She enjoys working directly with intended parents, egg donors and surrogates, and strives to offer the same level of personalized care she received during her donation experience. As Team Lead, Kristin provides guidance and support to colleagues while managing her own matches. Anyone working with Kristin knows firsthand what a remarkable spirit she possesses. She earned her BA from the University of Illinois, worked in Spain for two years, and appreciates practicing Spanish with her willing international intended parents. She enjoys managing her fantasy football league, well-told stories, and finding the few remaining speakeasies in Chicago.

Claudia Dorsch • Client Development • 我说普通话

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Currently earning her master’s degree in Pastoral Care and Counseling, Claudia speaks fluent Mandarin and is uniquely qualified to communicate Chinese and other foreign clients about sensitive subjects. She is a one-on-one guide who lends her hand and compassion to manage medical translation, legal contracts and match coordination. She understands the nuances and sensitivities of Chinese culture, and draws on her past experience assisting international athletes as they negotiated professional sports contracts in the U.S. After graduating from National Taiwan Normal University, Claudia traveled the globe as a professional harpist. At home in Chicago, she is on the brink of being an empty-nester with her husband and one of their two children; her love of authentic Chinese cuisine inspired a hobby of finding creative alternatives to indigenous ingredients.

Michelle Duchin, LCSW • Egg Donor Client Development • אני מדברת עברית

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With more than eight years of experience in the fertility world, Michelle managed an egg donor program for one of the largest and busiest fertility clinics in New York City before joining our team in Chicago. She has facilitated support groups for lupus patients, and worked extensively with cancer patients undergoing the fertility preservation process. After receiving a BA in Psychology with minors in Hebrew and Family Studies, she earned a Master of Social Work from New York University, a License in Clinical Social Work, and a Certificate in Field Instruction to supervise Master degree social work students. Michelle is fluent in Hebrew and enjoys yoga, skiing, biking and walking her Labradoodle puppy, Jackson.

Kristina Fabis, RNC-OB, BSN • Surrogate Intake Coordinator

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As a registered nurse with a national certification in Obstetrics, Kristina has a decade of experience caring for antepartum, laboring, and postpartum patients. She found her ultimate passion when she came to ConceiveAbilities in 2010 as a gestational carrier and two pregnancies later, she has helped two different couples complete their families. Now, as an intake coordinator, her expertise is reflected in the screening and record review of exceptional surrogates who consistently meet the stringent criteria of the nation’s most prestigious clinics. When Kristina isn’t applying her incredible work ethic and passion for surrogacy at ConceiveAbilities, she spends time with her husband and two children. She enjoys staying active and is always on the go.

Jesse Fiest • Communications

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Prior to joining ConceiveAbilities, Jesse worked as a Judicial Officer in Virginia. Her experience in the court system cemented her commitment to ethics and professionalism, and her background in mediation and advocacy, along with analytical and creative thinking, are useful in fostering understanding and building relationships between parties. Inspired by the altruism of the surrogate community, Jesse created the podcast “Surro Love” which she refers to as a “celebration and discussion of the calling.” Her innovative ideas, passion for learning, and overt enthusiasm make Jesse a spark that lights our company culture. Originally from Michigan, she earned a law degree from Wayne State Law School and holds a BA in Anthropology. Her many interests include digital design, architectural salvage, mixed-media art, and spending time with her husband and pharaoh hound.

Stephanie Foley • Client Development

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Stephanie brings extensive experience to her role. After receiving her BA in International Relations, she began her career as a Pharmaceutical Sales Specialist and has been a Sales and Marketing Consultant in a variety of healthcare-related fields. She is uniquely qualified to assist our newest clients at ConceiveAbilities, with a demonstrated commitment to customer service and a passion for transparent client education. Stephanie is an eternal optimist and enjoys reading, running, and spending time with her family in Chicago.

Lori Jurecko, MA, LSW • Match Manager

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A former ConceiveAbilities surrogate, Lori is a licensed social worker and trained mediator who also holds a master’s degree in Psychology. Having worked with children, families and couples in varying capacities for decades, Lori also brings experience working with international populations as a camp director and au pair coordinator to her role. While her clinical interests previously revolved around child maltreatment, atypical child development, divorce and the effects of trauma, her experiences as a gestational carrier led her to become a passionate advocate for surrogacy. She is thrilled to be part of the team in Denver, building relationships, providing needed support and delivering stellar client care. In her free time, Lori enjoys hiking, camping, cooking, and spending time with her boyfriend and three daughters.

Lori Kelly • Match Administration

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Lori adds a layer of empathetic support to the ConceiveAbilities team with vast experience in the field of reproductive physiology. Her patience, attention to detail, and expertise navigating the complicated world of medical insurance makes her a valuable asset to the match management and administrative teams. She has many years of experience in the infertility and pharmaceutical industries, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from the University of Illinois. In her spare time, Lori enjoys baking and spending time with her husband and two children.

Meg Ledebuhr, JD • Director of Legal Services and Client Advocacy

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A Chicago native, Meg provides counsel and contract services for ConceiveAbilities clients. She is available as the drafting attorney for Intended Parents, as well as coordinator of all legal aspects of their journey, assuring that their interests and rights are protected throughout. ABA accredited and licensed, Meg was recognized as one of the Law Bulletin Publishing Company’s 40 Under 40 Illinois Attorneys to Watch in 2013, a peer-nominated award. In addition to experience as a litigator and advocate, Meg speaks fluent Spanish. She received her JD from Chicago-Kent College of Law and her undergraduate degree in Political Science and Spanish from Vanderbilt University. Meg’s many interests include time with her husband and pup, international travel, Chicago sports, bird watching, brewing the perfect cup of coffee -- and she’s an accomplished philatelist.

Hillary Martens • Donor Intake Coordinator

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Hillary graduated from Illinois State University with a Political Science degree and joined the ConceiveAbilities team in 2013. With her experience as an information specialist and her propensity for detailed analysis, Hillary is able to assist intended parents find the right egg donor match in a sea of choices. When she’s not screening or educating applicants, Hillary enjoys reading, watching documentaries, and Chicago improv. Hillary is a devoted parent to her lab-mix Olsen, and she has begun investigating good dog schools for when Olsen is ready to attend.

Julie Parkin, MS, LMFT

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As a licensed therapist, Julie's passion for working in third-party reproduction derives from her own personal experience. After a journey with infertility, she used assisted reproductive technology to build her family. Her compassionate approach to the process makes her a trusted guide for intended parents, surrogates, and egg donors. Julie facilitates surrogate and egg donor evaluations and monthly surrogate support groups. Julie holds a Masters of Science in Counseling from California State University Fullerton. She enjoys spending time with her husband and keeping busy with their twin boys on the BMX racing circuit.

Kristin Paxton • Match Manager

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Kristin joined the ConceiveAbilities team after her own happy ending – she went through four years of infertility treatment at three different clinics before successfully building her family. Because of her own experience, she is able to empathize with intended parents in an especially unique way. Her journey ignited a passion to guide others through the process. She is also a volunteer leader of a RESOLVE support group for intended parents considering egg donation. Kristin holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Humanities from Michigan State University, and she lives in Chicago with her husband, their active twin sons and two cats.

Sara Shapiro, MSW • Match Manager • hablo español

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Sara holds a Bachelor of Arts with a double-major in Spanish and Social Work, as well as a Master of Science in Social Work, both from the University of Wisconsin. She has lived in both Spain and Mexico, and as such is fluent in Spanish and holds a deep appreciation for the respective cultures. Her compassion and ability to help others overcome adversity are two of her many strengths. As a Match Manager, Sara provides individualized attention, while understanding this very important and emotional chapter in her clients' lives. She enjoys exploring the City of Chicago, Latin dance, live music, traveling and several hobbies. Sara remains a staunch advocate for social justice.

Kimberly Smith, RN, BSN • Match Manager

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Equipped with her degree in Nursing from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Kimberly spent more than 15 years working in women’s health and infertility. From counseling patients about fertility options, to creating IVF protocols and managing cycles in her role as liaison between doctors and patients, her experience ignited a passion to guide intended parents, egg donors and surrogates through their journeys. Kimberly’s clinical and practical knowledge, paired with genuine compassion, make her a valuable member of the ConceiveAbilities team; she is always the calming voice of reason during the more hectic days at the office. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, traveling and hiking.

Suzanne Willmann • Intake Coordinator

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For Suzanne, witnessing the journeys of our intended parents, egg donors and surrogates is both a gratifying and humbling experience. With a BS in Health Care Management and minor in Arts and Humanities from the Metropolitan State University of Denver, her preceding experience includes a role as Donation Consultant for a boutique egg donor agency. Originally from Oklahoma, Suzanne loves her adopted state of Colorado. She and her husband have a young daughter, as well as 4 very active canines that keep them busy.

Paula Wirth • Match Manager

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Paula has first-hand experience with the surrogacy process – she has delivered four healthy babies as a ConceiveAbilities gestational carrier. Combined with nine years of customer care experience, she is a natural at developing good rapport with intended parents, surrogates and egg donors. “All three of my surrogacy experiences were rewarding and amazing," Paula says of her journeys, “and I feel blessed to now be working in the surrogacy community." Her favorite part of the job is providing support and advice for surrogates when they need someone who truly understands. She inspires all of us at ConceiveAbilities as we often wonder “How does Paula do it?” Paula lives in Denver with her husband and two daughters, and loves staying active outdoors.

Jennifer Wolf, LCSW • Match Manager

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Having earned her Master of Social Work from the University of Illinois, Jennifer has worked in varying capacities within social services for over 15 years. She brings the care and compassion necessary to guide surrogates, donors and intended parents through the complexities of third party reproduction. Having donated twice through ConceiveAbilities, she now strives to provide the same exceptional level of support that she received, ensuring that everyone involved has a positive, fulfilling experience. One of Jennifer’s priorities is to be a sympathetic ear for anyone who may feel uncertain about sharing this very personal journey with their family or friends. When she’s not working, Jennifer cherishes time with her husband, busy young son and big Golden Retriever, Rufus.

Leah McFail • Match Manager

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Leah’s extensive background in relationship cultivation and unparalleled customer service has taken her around the world, including time spent as a community health Peace Corps volunteer, working with international clients on a Finnish sled dog farm, and most recently managing a major Denver, CO hospital’s robust volunteer program. She’s thrilled to be a part of the Match Management team, and thrives on creating communicative and empathetic relationships with those whom she serves. Leah holds a double B.A. from the University of Colorado-Boulder, and is currently earning her master’s degree in Adult Education & Training from Regis University. In her free time, Leah can be found tackling her DIY house renovation, camping, and hiking with her husband, young son, and two zany husky mixes, Naali and Ushi.

Rachael Bingham • Match Manager

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Rachael recently moved back to her native Colorado after spending a few years in New York City where she was a Patient Care Advocate for an up-and-coming company that provides access to fertility services for patients, employers and health plans. Rachael’s previous employment also includes a position as a Marketing Liaison for Empire Blue Cross in NY, and a Counselor and Health Educator for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) at Denver Health Hospital. Rachael has a bachelor's degree in both Communications Studies and Spanish from Colorado State University, and is looking forward to using her professional experience and education background to provide stellar support to ConceiveAbilities’ clients, surrogates and donors. Rachael enjoys salsa dancing, football, bike riding and bootcamp classes.

Kate Summers • Program Coordinator

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Kate has worked with ConceiveAbilities in a variety of roles since 2006. Her experience working with intended parents, donors and surrogates as an intake coordinator and Match Manager has given her a unique perspective helping all parties navigate this process. She received her Journalism degree from Columba College, which has served her well when moonlighting in marketing and social media ventures too. A Chicago native, Kate loves traveling, creative writing and advocating for a variety of social causes.
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