For Intended Parents - Frequently Asked Questions

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For Intended Parents - Frequently Asked Questions
  1. How do you screen your egg donors?
  2. Why is it better to have donors screened by in-house counselors?
  3. Is there a fee for our initial consultation?
  4. What is the cost for a donor cycle?
  5. What type of information will we be given regarding our donor?
  6. Will the donor know our identity?
  7. What happens if our donor does not pass her medical screening?
  8. What happens if our donor does not produce any eggs?
  9. What if the cycle is cancelled?
  10. Is an adoption necessary?
  11. Does stress cause infertility and, if so, what can I do?
  12. Why should we work with Parenting Options?
  13. What is our first step?

1.  How do you screen your egg donors?

All Parenting Options donors undergo an extensive multi-level 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.

An applicant must first pass an initial phone screening to ensure that she meets the basic qualifications and has the proper motivation. Approximately 1 in 10 applicants will pass this initial screening. Those making it through the phone screening will then come to our offices for 3 to 4 hours of standardized testing and a clinical interview with a licensed mental health professional. At that time the applicant will complete:

  • an extensive three-generation family health and genetic history
  • a detailed psychosocial history
  • the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2):

Because the MMPI-2 instrument is relevant to a range of contemporary applications, it is the most widely used and widely researched test of adult psychopathology. The MMPI-2 has proven to be an effective, efficient diagnostic tool for over 20 years. The test offers eight validity scales and 10 clinical scales.  The test is based on 567 true/false questions. It takes approximately two hours to complete.

After the clinical interview the counselor will make an assessment as to whether the applicant should be admitted into our program.

2.  Why is it better to have donors screened by in-house counselors?

Many programs do not have counselors on staff and must refer their donors out for psychological assessment. By contrast, at Parenting Options our licensed counselors complete this assessment on the donor’s first office visit. Due to our extensive specialized experience, our counselors are better suited to gauge the applicant and her commitment to complete the process. Our reputation is our most important asset and that depends on the quality and professionalism of our donors and their commitment to you.

3.  Is there a fee for our initial consultation?

We charge $125 for an initial consultation, which includes our application fee, a counseling session, and 90 days access to our online donor registry. The consultation is conducted at our offices or, if you do not live in local office area, by phone. The counseling session satisfies the American Society for Reproductive Medicine guidelines on egg donation and allows our counselor to confirm to your IVF physician that you have received the necessary counseling. Because the consultation includes counseling with a licensed counselor, we will give you a receipt for submission to your health insurance provider. Depending on your particular policy, some portion of the fee may be eligible for reimbursement.

4.  What is the cost for a donor cycle?

The agency fee is $3,500 and includes the advertising and recruiting of your donor,  initial screening of your donor; ongoing coordination and mediation during your arrangement, and informed consent releases from the donor.   EXCLUDING MEDICAL COSTS, your total expenses for an egg donor cycle will range from $10,450 to $12,950, depending on the experience level of your donor. These expenses include the agency fee, psychological screening,  legal contracts, donor's legal representation, donor's total compensation, and oocyte accidental insurance.

5.  What type of information will we be given regarding our donor?

We provide couples with a current photograph and, if available, childhood photographs of their donor. We also provide the full biographical background in the donor’s own handwriting so you can read her actual answers rather than an abbreviated abstract. Her biography includes age, general physical characteristics, education, talents and interests, ethnic background, any history of drug usage, legal history, marital information, pregnancy history, health history including major illnesses and surgeries, academic interests, family genetic history, self-described personality assessment, general physical description of immediate family members, and a one-page letter explaining why she is interested in being a donor. Our biographies meet the initial screening requirements of the FDA.  We also disclose whether she has previously been a donor and, if so, the number of eggs retrieved and success rates.

6.  Will the donor know our identity?

You will not be introduced to the donor and she will not know your identity.

7.  What happens if our donor does not pass her medical screening?

We stand behind our services. We will rematch you at no additional agency fee.

8.  What happens if our donor does not produce any eggs?

The success of an IVF cycle depends on many factors and cannot be guaranteed. Moreover, American Society for Reproductive Medicine guidelines provide that donor compensation cannot be based on the success of the cycle. However, your physician will be using ultrasounds to monitor your donor’s follicle development and, in most cases, will make a recommendation prior to retrieval as to whether or not to cancel the cycle.

9.  What if the cycle is cancelled?

If you decide to cancel the cycle, the donor will be paid some portion of her fee but, depending on the timing, not her entire fee. At your request we will rematch you without any additional agency fee. However, upon rematch you would be responsible for that portion of the fee paid to your original donor and, if you choose to work with a more experienced donor, any additional compensation due her.

10.  Is an adoption necessary?

Under Texas law an adoption is not necessary if the wife of the couple carries and delivers the child.

11.  Does stress cause infertility and, if so, what can I do?

Although some studies indicate that high levels of stress may prevent conception, it is more likely that the treatment and disappointment associated with infertility causes stress. Research shows that women suffering from infertility experience higher levels of anxiety and depression. This, in turn, can have an effect on fertility. Parenting Options offers its Wellness Concepts™  program based on the infertility program at Harvard’s Mind/Body Medical Institute in Boston. Components of the program include relaxation response techniques, cognitive restructuring, coping skills, stretching exercise, and nutritional information. Please call for a current schedule of classes.

12.  Why should we work with Parenting Options?

Experienced Professionals.  SSA/Parenting Options was established in 1993, making us the oldest and most experienced third party reproduction agency in the Southwest, and among the oldest agencies in the nation. We have developed an outstanding reputation over many years and can provide references from the top physicians in the field. We have licensed mental health providers and attorneys on staff. This means that you have the comfort and security of knowing that 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.

Convenience.  We know that infertility is extremely stressful and time consuming. At Parenting Options we offer a unified program to simplify your life. No running around or being referred out to counselors or attorneys with multiple appointments and repeating your medical history and no problems with inter-office coordination. With the exception of medical, everything from counseling to legal can be handled in one visit to our offices.

Extensive Donor Screening.  All donors in the Parenting Options program undergo an extensive multi-level screening based on both objective and subjective standards. The screening process has been designed to satisfy both the guidelines of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and our own criteria.

Personalized Matching.  We can provide personal guidance to help you in making the best decision. Internet based programs that simply collect applications and provide lists of donors cannot offer this level of service.

Tax Deductible.  All of the fees (including agency and donor fees) for our egg donation program will qualify as medical expenses for federal income tax purposes and as "medical care expenses" under a flexible spending account. Moreover, depending on your health insurance plan, the portion of our fees relating to counseling may be reimbursable because provided by a licensed mental health professional.

Current Donor List.  Many programs claim to have large numbers of donors but, on closer examination, these donors have not undergone any psychological screening or may not even still be in the program. Donors in our registry have completed their psychological screening and are ready to proceed. Only the medical screening remains to be done. We also update our donor registry on a regular basis to do our best to make sure that our donors are actually available.

Experienced Donors.  In recent research conducted at Northwestern University in Chicago and Fertility Centers of Illinois, a survey indicated that 35% of the donors say they will donate again. Parenting Options has a 75% repeat rate with our donors.

Easy Access.  Our three offices, Houston, Dallas, and Atlanta, are conveniently located near major Freeways.  Our Corporate office, Houston, offers non-stop or direct flights to more than 110 U.S. markets and to 40 foreign destinations. The corporate offices are conveniently located to both George Bush Intercontinental Airport and Hobby Airport. With a mild climate, Houston is one of 5 U.S. cities that offer 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 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. in the number of consular offices.

Making Happy Endings™.  Our motto is "Making Happy Endings" and we strive for this in each and every arrangement. Due to our extensive screening experience, over 99% of our donors complete their cycles. We also provide ongoing emotional support for our donors, resulting in an unusually high donor repeat rate - over 75% choose to remain in our program after their first retrieval cycle.

13.  What is our first step?

Once your IVF physician has indicated that egg donation is your best option, your next step would be to contact us. We will then guide you through the rest of the process. We also offer counseling on an hourly basis to help you work through your decision as to which option is best for you and your family and in dealing with the emotional issues involved in infertility.

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