For Prospective Surrogates - Frequently Asked Questions
- What does it mean to be a surrogate?
- How do I become a surrogate?
- Why should I work with SSA rather than going independent?
- Is surrogacy legal?
- What if I do not live in Texas?
- Will I be paid?
- Will I ever be carrying my own biological child?
- What is my first step?
- What if I don't live in one of your office areas?
1. What does it mean to be a surrogate?
A surrogate is a woman who carries a pregnancy for another woman. Surrogacy is necessary when a woman does not have a uterus or has medical problems that prevent her from getting pregnant or maintaining a pregnancy. The ideal surrogate is a relatively young woman who has previously carried a pregnancy without complications and does not have any habits (e.g., smoking, alcohol, drug use) or medical disorders (e.g., diabetes) that could endanger her health or the health of the fetus during a pregnancy. Surrogates are also called "gestational carriers" or "gestational mothers."
2. How do I become a surrogate?
The basic steps are initial screening, psychological assessment/counseling, meeting the couple, completion of background checks, contracts, medical evaluations, court approval and, finally, the IVF medical process.
After you have submitted your application, an SSA counselor will call you for a detailed phone interview. If that goes well, you will be invited to come in for an office visit (approximately 3-4 hours). During that visit you will complete a psychosocial profile, have a clinical interview with a staff counselor, and complete the MMPI-2 assessment (a two hour psychological test that consists of true/false questions).
If married, you and your husband will come back later for a joint counseling/interview session. Once a potential match has been arranged you will meet the couple in a mediated meeting at our offices. At that time the counselor will cover issues and make sure that everyone is in agreement. Both you and the couple are then given a few days to decide whether or not you want to go forward. If all parties want to proceed, then contracts will be prepared, medical evaluations conducted and the court work completed.
3. Why should I work with SSA rather than going independent?
Experience. Established in 1993, SSA is the oldest and most experienced third party reproduction agency in Texas and among the oldest agencies in the nation. With licensed counselors and attorneys on staff, you have the comfort of knowing that your arrangement is in the hands of professionals.
Convenience. By the time you meet with them, a couple will already have completed a psychological assessment, background check and shown their commitment to the process by retaining us. SSA also will have discussed with the couple the issues arising in a surrogate arrangement and will have presented them with a standard compensation package. The advantage to you is that this minimizes the potential for delays and "false starts." Surrogates in independent arrangements often spend significant amounts of time dealing with a couple only to find that the couple is also meeting with other potential surrogates at the same time. In other cases the couple may not be prepared (emotionally or financially) to move forward. With SSA you know that the couple you are meeting with is ready and able to proceed and is focused only on you.
Protected Relationship. In an independent arrangement, you must raise all the issues directly with the couple. This can lead to tense times, hurt feelings, and a damaged relationship. In an SSA arrangement, you have a trained counselor involved who can discretely raise and resolve issues without damaging your relationship. Your counselor also acts as a neutral "sounding board" for both you and your couple to help avoid misunderstandings. The end result is a more enjoyable arrangement for everyone.
Security. In most independent arrangements the surrogate must rely entirely on the couple to make payments called for by the agreement. In an SSA arrangement, your compensation and certain other amounts are held for your benefit in a segregated escrow account at a federally insured bank.
Ongoing Support. Surrogacy involves emotions and can be stressful. An SSA counselor is always available to help you with questions or concerns. We also offer surrogates ongoing emotional support through periodic luncheon groups and social gatherings.
4. Is surrogacy legal?
Under Texas law, surrogate arrangements are both legal and enforceable. Before you become pregnant, your couple will already have gone to court and assumed full legal responsibility for any child you may carry.
5. What if I do not live in Texas?
SSA accepts surrogates into our program who live outside Texas. But in that case, we will most likely match you with a couple residing in Texas. We currently are seeking surrogates in Texas, Georgia, Colorado, and Florida.
6. Will I be paid?
You will be paid for carrying the pregnancy and for the time, inconvenience, and risks involved. We offer first-time surrogates compensation of $15,000 (if you do not have health insurance) to $25,000 (if you have written verification of insurance). Experienced surrogates are paid more - the amount depends on a variety of factors.
7. Will I ever be carrying my own biological child?
No. The Texas surrogacy law does not cover arrangements in which the surrogate carries her own biological child. Any child that you carry will either be the biological child of the intended mother or an egg donor. SSA does not provide traditional surrogacy services (the child is the biological child of the surrogate). However, the counselors and attorney provide these services for independent arrangements.
8. What is my first step?
Your first step is to contact us or fill out our brief qualifying questionnaire by clicking here. Our counselors will then guide you through the application process.
9. What if I don't live in one of your office areas.
If you do not live in one of our office areas you will need skype and a web cam. One of our agency counselors will interview you via skype. If you just cannot get a web cam, we can interview by phone, but not our preferance. We like to see you while talking with you.
PLEASE NOTE: We do not currently accept applications from Michigan, New York, or Louisiana