SSA/Parenting Options maintains the highest level of qualified professional staff. Couples, donors, and surrogates can all feel secure that their needs are being met by staff members who are qualified in the area which they handle. The support staff is trained in HIPAA to protect the rights of confidentiality of our clients. No agency provides a more qualified staff than SSA/Parenting Options.
Executive Agency Director and Legal Director
Greg Stern has been a practicing attorney since 1980. In addition to his private law practice, Greg is a Director and owner of SSA/Parenting Options and provides legal services for agency clients, as well as independent arrangements from across the country. Greg has completed numerous surrogate and egg donor arrangements and adoptions in the Texas, Georgia and Colorado courts. He represents several of the major Texas fertility clinics on legal matters for their assisted reproduction programs. Greg speaks frequently at RESOLVE and elsewhere and has published several articles explaining the legal issues of assisted reproduction. Greg is a graduate of NYU Law School and a former adjunct professor at the University of Houston Law School. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas, State Bar of Georgia, State Bar of Colorado, and State Bar of Maryland, and the Reproductive & Genetic Technologies Committee of the American Bar Association, and the American Society For Reproductive Medicine. Greg is licensed to practice law in the states of Texas, Georgia, Colorado, and Maryland.
Erica Almendarez holds a Master of Science Degree in Psychology and is a Licensed Professional Counselor. She graduated from Our Lady of the Lake University, with a concentration in marriage and family therapy. She has experience in couples and family outpatient therapy, as well as psychosocial assessments. She has conducted both group and individual therapy sessions. She assists our clients from Dallas and North Texas and facilitates the Dallas SSA support group meetings.
Lori Owens holds a Master's Degree in Social Work and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner.She has experience in adult outpatient therapy and psychosocial assessments, and has conducted both group and individual therapy sessions. She assists our clients from Georgia and the surrounding states and facilitates the Atlanta SSA support group meetings. Lori also attended the Sorbonne in Paris and assists with our French speaking clients.
SSA/Parenting Options Coordinator
Maria Ramirez is the lead coordinator for SSA/Parenting Options. She received her Bachelor's Degree in psychology from the University of Houston. Maria assists in the initial paperwork and interview process and guides intended parents in their selection of surrogates and egg donors. She is the liaison between surrogates, egg donors, and intended parents throughout their arrangements, offering support and keeping all parties up to date. Maria also maintains the surrogate and egg donor online databases and serves as the liaison between surrogates, egg donors and the SSA/Parenting Options counselors and staff.
Erika Elias holds a Bachelor's Degree in psychology from the University of Houston. She assists in the initial screening of surrogates and egg donors and provides support for the agency legal staff. She also serves as liaison between Spanish speaking couples and SSA/Parenting Options staff members during arrangements, as well as translating documents.
Home Visit Counselors
Miranda Phillips is our lead home visit counselor. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and a Master's Degree in Counseling and Development. Miranda has experience as a caseworker for MHMR, where she worked extensively with families in their home environments. Miranda visits our surrogates in their home. She conducts an investigation of the home and reports on the family dynamics. Miranda is a Licensed Professional Counselor - Intern. Miranda has conducted SSA home visits since 2003.
Cathy Zelzer is a home visitor counselor. She holds a master's degree in counseling. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a National Certified Counselor. She is the President of Counseling Solutions. Cathy specializes in family therapy and mediation. In addition to her responsibilities with SSA/Parenting Options, Cathy conducts classes in Parenting, Life Skills, and Crisis Intervention.