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A. In SMI’s program, a surrogate must be between 18-35 and have previously had a child. The typical surrogate is 28, married, employed, and solidly middle class. The single characteristic describing all of our surrogates is altruism. The women in our program are generous, caring, healthy women. They become surrogates to help people have families. Unlike other programs which look for poor women (based on the mistaken belief that a poor woman is less likely to keep the child), our surrogates are never motivated by financial need. Their fee, which generally is around $15,000-20,000, is a factor, but never the main reason for their participation.
A. Couples base their decision on many factors. Some couples select a woman because of her location or physical similarity. Others want a surrogate who is intelligent. All couples, however, look for a woman who is healthy, has no significant medical/psychological difficulties, is emotionally and mentally stable, conceives easily, and who is responsible and mature enough to realize that the couple is placing an enormous amount of trust in her to carry their child.
A. Absolutely. The surrogates go through a variety of different screening processes. References are checked, medical records from prior pregnancies are obtained, a criminal history check is done, and the surrogate (and her husband if married) are then given a complete psychological exam. The couple gets a copy of the psyc report, and they make a final decision if the surrogate is acceptable. Approximately 1% – 2% of all women who initially contact SMI actually end up being accepted into the program.
A. Of the 2000 or so births to surrogates in the country, a woman has refused to relinquish the child less than 1% of the time. SMI has never had this happen. In every case where it has, the surrogate either was not screened at all, or the couple was not made aware of the psychological findings. When surrogacy is done right, it works.
A. “Success” should only mean one thing: the percentage of couples/individuals who actually end up with a child. In the AI program, your success rate depends on the male’s sperm count and the surrogate’s ability to conceive. 85% of all of SMI’s clients in the AI program end up with a child. On the average, it takes our surrogates 3 cycles to conceive. Some take longer. Many get pregnant on the first try. In the IVF/ET program, the success rates depend primarily on the age of the egg donor. Generally, success rates where the donor is
A. SMI encourages “open surrogacy.” The reason for this is simple: because our surrogates are not doing this for the money, they want (and have every right) to know the types of people for whom they are doing this. Meeting the surrogate allows both sides to make sure that the arrangement will work. Most of our couples stay in contact with their surrogate frequently during the pregnancy. Even after the birth, many couples still stay in touch with their surrogates (X-mas cards, birthday cards, etc.), although for most couples and surrogates the relationship ends after the baby is born.