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Surrogacy Specialists of America
Southwest Surrogacy Arrangements - H Magazine
May 01, 2005
Southwest Surrogacy Arrangements and Parenting Options offers loving parents alternatives for starting their families

H Magazine - by Phaedra Friend

Southwest Surrogacy Arrangements and Parenting Options is the oldest and most experienced surrogate and egg donor reproductive agency in Texas. Offering support, counseling, legal services and matching, founders Greg and Kathy Stern have both personal and extensive professional experience in third-party reproduction. Through compassionate understanding and exceptional services, the goal of Southwest Surrogacy Arrangements and Parenting Options is to make happy endings for all their clients.

What is third-party reproduction?
Third-party reproduction simply means that a couple needs the help of a third party to become parents. This may be through egg, sperm or embryo donation. It may also involve the help of a surrogate mother (gestational carrier) to carry the child. The right choice depends on the circumstances.

Why would someone be interested in surrogacy?
Surrogacy is a wonderful option when a woman cannot carry a child herself. The couple can have a child that may be biologically related to one or both of them, and they can be very involved in the pregnancy. This offers the couples comfort and assurance that sometimes may not be found in an adoption arrangement.

What is the process for matching a couple with a surrogate mother?
Couples and surrogates are matched based on compatible values, philosophies and personalities. A mediated group meeting is held with a licensed counselor to assure that all issues are discussed and that everyone is in agreement and comfortable with the match. A Southwest Surrogacy Arrangements counselor will then guide the couple and surrogate throughout the arrangement.

Do surrogate mothers remain close with the family once the baby is born?
Every arrangement is different. Expectations of long-term relationships are discussed in the first meeting. Relationships evolve naturally and become whatever makes the parties comfortable. Some arrangements end in lifelong friendships.

How are surrogates screened?
All SSA surrogates undergo an extensive multilevel screening based on both objective and subjective standards to meet our proprietary criteria developed over many years of experience. This includes a phone screening, application process, clinical interview, objective psychological assessment and a home visit. Surrogates are evaluated on factors such as emotional stability, life stability, available support systems and proper motivation.

What legal aspects are involved in third-party reproduction?
Texas has the best law in the country for surrogacy. Contracts are approved by the court before the pregnancy and are enforceable. The names of the parents go directly on the birth certificate, and there is no need for an adoption. In egg, sperm or embryo donation, courts are not involved and parenthood is established based on written consent of the couple.

Why would someone be interested in egg donation?
An egg donor is necessary if a woman can carry but cannot provide the eggs for a pregnancy due to a medical condition, loss of her ovaries, or age-related factors. Egg donation gives the woman the opportunity to experience pregnancy. She is the one who provides the prenatal nurturing and who gives life to the child.

How does a couple choose an egg donor?
We have a large number of available donors and provide pictures and extensive biographical background information. The couple meets with the counselor, and they discuss their criteria for a donor. Usually couples choose a donor who closely matches the physical appearance, talents and interests of the intended mother.

How are donors screened?
All Parenting Options donors undergo an extensive multilevel screening based on both objective and subjective standards designed to satisfy both the egg donation guidelines of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and our own criteria based on years of experience.

Are there emotional hurdles that a couple must overcome before considering third-party reproduction?
The inability to have a child through natural means is a loss similar to that of a miscarriage or the loss of a loved one. The couple needs to grieve this loss. This takes time and may require the help of a mental health professional.

How common is third-party reproduction?
According to the latest government statistics, in 2002 there were more than 13,000 IVF cycles in the United States using donor eggs or embryos. Although there are no national statistics on surrogacy, the Organization of Parents through Surrogacy estimates that there are about 1,500 surrogate births per year in the United States.

How does a couple know that they are ready to start third-party reproduction?
Many couples have been trying to achieve their dream of parenthood for a very long time. The couple is ready when the desire to parent outweighs the desire to be pregnant and/or provide the genetics for their child. At that point, it is our job to help them create their own “happy ending.” n

Southwest Surrogacy Arrangements LLC and Parenting Options LLC
10260 Westheimer Rd, Ste. 350
Houston, TX 77042
(713) 952-4772
www.ssa-agency.com