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Surrogate For Intended Parents FAQ2018-11-02T13:56:12+00:00
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Surrogate For Intended Parents FAQ

HOW DO YOU SCREEN YOUR SURROGATES?2018-07-18T20:50:17+00:00

All SSA surrogates undergo an extensive multi-level screening based on both objective and subjective standards to meet our proprietary criteria developed over many years of experience. This includes an initial phone screening, formal application process, clinical psychological interview, completion of the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) psychological test, criminal background check by licensed private investigator on both the surrogate and her partner, and a home visit to the surrogate’s house by our home visit counselor. Surrogates are evaluated on factors such as emotional stability, life stability, available support systems and proper motivation.

HOW DO YOU MATCH COUPLES AND SURROGATES?2018-07-18T20:50:49+00:00

Based on your application, counseling session, and interview, your counselor will match you with a surrogate who has the same philosophies/values and compatible personality. Once matched, you will meet the surrogate in a facilitated session at one of the SSA offices or by teleconference. At that time, all issues for the arrangement are discussed and the SSA facilitator makes sure that everyone is in agreement and that it is a good match. To assure that no one feels pressured at the moment, you will be asked to go home and discuss it and call back the next day with your decision as to whether to move forward with the arrangement. Then the surrogate goes to your IVF physician for medical clearance.

WHY TEXAS?2018-07-18T20:51:18+00:00

Texas is the best jurisdiction in the U.S. for couples interested in third party assisted reproduction. With the most progressive parentage legislation of any state, court-approved “gestational agreements” between intended parents and their gestational mothers (surrogates) are valid and enforceable as contracts. See Texas Law.

WHY SHOULD WE WORK WITH SSA?2018-07-25T22:59:24+00:00

Experienced Professionals. In business for nearly a quarter century, we are the oldest and most experienced third party reproduction agency in Texas and the southwest, and we are among the oldest agencies in the U.S. We have developed an outstanding reputation over many years and can provide references from top physicians in the field. Unlike many agencies, we have licensed mental health providers and attorneys on staff. When considering other agencies, please be aware of the credentials of the staff. Ask yourself if these are individuals that you would trust your money to in any other situation and, more importantly, your future child. SSA offers you the comfort and security of knowing that licensed professionals will be handling your arrangement. Members of our staff are leaders in the field of infertility, speaking and publishing at national forums and publications on infertility matters. We caution you against agencies without an established track record or without professional staff – many are here today and gone tomorrow. The health and safety of your future child is too important to trust to amateurs.

Convenience. We know that infertility is extremely stressful and time consuming. At SSA, we offer a unified program to simplify your life. No running around or being referred out to counselors or attorneys with multiple appointments and having to explain your circumstances again and again. There are also no problems with inter-office coordination or scheduling. With the exception of your medical treatment, everything from counseling to legal can be handled in our offices and we take care of all the details of your arrangement.

Extensive Screening. All surrogates in the SSA program undergo an extensive multi-level screening based on both objective and subjective standards. Our proprietary screening process has been developed over two decades and gives us unique insight into surrogacy. Due to our rigorous screening process, we have never had a surrogate change her mind or attempt to exercise any parental rights over a child.

Protected Relationship. In an independent arrangement, you must raise all the issues directly with your surrogate. This can lead to tense times, hurt feelings, and a damaged relationship. An SSA arrangement gives you the advantage of having a trained mediator who can discretly raise and resolve issues without damaging your relationship. Your SSA counselor also acts as a neutral “sounding board” for both you and your surrogate to help avoid misunderstandings and lead to a more enjoyable arrangement for everyone.

Personalized Matching. Your counselor will attempt to match you with a surrogate based on personality and beliefs, to give you the most enjoyable experience possible in expanding your family.

Case Management. The commitment and involvement of many agencies ends once they have matched you with a surrogate. SSA offers case management throughout your arrangement. We offer unlimited counseling to your surrogate during the arrangement. We contact the delivery hospital in the last trimester of the pregnancy and discuss the details of your arrangement with the hospital social worker, so that when it is time for your baby(ies) to be born, all you have to worry about is making sure you have the right car seat(s).

Easy Access. Our corporate office is located in Houston, Texas, a major international city. Houston has non-stop or direct flights to more than 110 U.S. markets and to 40 foreign destinations. Our offices are conveniently located to both George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and Hobby Airport (HOU). With a mild subtropical climate, Houston is the 4th largest city in the U.S. and offers world-class, year-round performing and visual arts, including symphony, opera, drama and ballet. Our offices are minutes from the Galleria Mall, renowned for its exclusive shopping experience. For our non-U.S. clients, with 78 foreign consulates Houston consistently ranks as one of the top 5 cities in the U.S. for consular offices. For our clients’ convenience, we have offices in Houston and Dallas.

WHAT IS THE ADVANTAGE OF WORKING WITH SSA RATHER THAN FINDING A SURROGATE ON YOUR OWN?2018-07-18T20:54:18+00:00

Finding and screening a qualified surrogate on your own is time consuming and usually frustrating. SSA handles all the details of your arrangement, including advertising, screening, background checks by an independent licensed private investigator and fact verification. In an independent arrangement, if your surrogate decides to work with another couple or changes her mind, you may be out thousands of dollars for fees paid to psychologists and lawyers. And you may have to repeat this process any number of times. With SSA, you have the comfort of knowing that if your surrogate changes her mind we will rematch you at no additional cost. It is also worth noting that many surrogates offering independent arrangements are doing so because they do not meet the criteria set by reputable agencies. And those that would otherwise qualify with an agency often ask for a significant premium over the industry standard compensation package. When you add up all the costs that you will incur in an independent arrangement and the time that you will spend, we believe you will conclude that SSA is the better choice. However, if you choose to work in an independent arrangement, SSA also offers legal and counseling services for independent arrangements.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO BE MATCHED?2018-07-18T20:54:42+00:00

The length of time is difficult to predict because it will vary widely depending on the circumstances. Some couples are matched as quickly as 2-3 weeks. The matching process should not be rushed and we tell couples to be prepared for up to 6-8 months before a match is completed, with an average match time of 4 months. Only 1 in 30 applicants become SSA surrogates. A well qualified surrogate is one of the most important aspects of a successful arrangement. This woman is going to be taking care of your future child. Isn’t the right match worth the wait?

WHAT ARE OUR CHANCES OF SUCCESS?2018-07-18T20:55:10+00:00

Since we have never had a surrogate change her mind and fight to keep the baby, SSA has a 100% success rate. We cannot quote pregnancy success rates because we do not provide medical treatment. The relevant success rates for you will depend on many medical factors. For example, the age of the eggs and the particular infertility issue are always important. An arrangement using donor eggs generally has a higher chance of success because the average donor is relatively young and has no history of infertility. However, statistics will vary from case to case and doctor to doctor. This is a question best discussed with your IVF physician.

SHOULD WE CONSIDER PREIMPLANTATION GENETIC TESTING (PGS/PGD)?2018-07-18T20:55:39+00:00

Your embryos can be tested for abnormal chromosomes before they are transferred to the uterus. Known as preimplantation genetic testing (PGT), one or more cells from each embryo are prepared (typically at day 5 of embryonic development) and sent to a lab for genetic testing. Since this testing takes time, your embryos will usually be frozen while waiting for the results. Then, based on the PGT results, genetically healthy embryos will be thawed and transferred to the patient’s uterus.
There are two different PGT procedures available. Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) involves testing the embryos for specific genetic disorders and is recommended for someone who is a carrier of a known genetic disorder. Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) involves testing the embryos for chromosomal abnormalities by counting the number of chromosomes, and is recommended for someone with recurrent miscarriage, older (over the age of 35), or with multiple unexplained failed fertility treatments. Many embryos with chromosomal abnormalities will not result in a pregnancy or will end in miscarriage. PGS also identifies the sex of the embryos, giving the intended parents the ability to transfer embryos of a given sex. A disadvantage of PGT is that it often eliminates a large number of embryos, which means fewer embryos will be available for transfer. The percentage of embryos that are abnormal can be affected by many factors, including the age and health history of the parents. We recommend that you work with a genetic counselor if you choose PGT for your embryos.

CAN I SELECT THE GENDER OF MY CHILD?2018-07-18T20:56:13+00:00

Gender selection (also known as “family balancing”) is an option for couples desiring to choose the sex of their child. It can also be used to reduce the possibility of transmitting certain genetic diseases by an “at risk” couple to a child, such as cystic fibrosis, Tay Sachs, Huntington’s disease or sickle cell disease. PGT testing provides couples with the ability to choose the gender of their child, assuming they have both male and female embryos available. Some IVF clinics place restrictions on the use of gender selection, so be sure to check with your physician to understand any limitations.

WHICH DOCTOR HAS THE BEST STATISTICS FOR SUCCESS?2018-07-18T20:56:36+00:00

This is a difficult question to answer. Statistics will vary with each doctor according to his/her practice. Some doctors will work with all couples while others choose not to work with patients over a certain age or with certain medical conditions. This alone can skew statistics. It is best to work with a doctor with whom you feel comfortable and who is experienced with your particular infertility issues and third party reproduction. For surrogate arrangements, SSA will work with your referring doctor if he/she is willing to participate in a third party arrangement. If you are coming without a doctor referral, SSA can provide references to several IVF specialists with whom we have worked and have the utmost confidence.

CAN WE USE THE SURROGATE’S INSURANCE?2018-07-18T20:56:59+00:00

Insurance companies and their policies vary widely. Many agencies do not look into the surrogate’s insurance thoroughly and just make the recommendation that you use her insurance if she has it. The problem with this approach is that many insurance policies have exclusions (stated or hidden) for surrogate pregnancies. Or, they may have other language that could put your surrogate’s medical care at risk. If this is the case, you could be at great financial risk, and/or your surrogate could be at risk of not receiving the best medical care. At SSA, we work with the top fertility insurance experts in the field and your surrogate’s policy will be reviewed prior to medical treatment. If your surrogate is uninsured or her policy will not cover a surrogate pregnancy, alternatives are available. Although backup plans and alternative policies may make your arrangement a little more costly up front, it may save you much financial and medical heartache down the road. We will assist you in getting your health insurance set up.

WHAT IS OUR FIRST STEP?2018-07-18T20:57:41+00:00

Your first step depends on your situation. If surrogacy is your only option (for example, a hysterectomy), then your first step is a consultation with SSA. Your second step is either a consultation with your IVF physician or a meeting with the surrogate with whom you will be working, depending on your preference. If you are not sure that surrogacy is the appropriate choice for you medically, then you should first have a consultation with your doctor. SSA also provides counseling on an hourly basis for helping you work through your decision as to which option is best for you and your family and dealing with the emotional issues involved in infertility.