Thank you for the opportunity to explain how SASS pre-paid ongoing counseling may differ from the counselling offered by IVF clinics in places like Victoria, or perhaps be a double up. Some IVF clinics do include ongoing counselling as a part of their program. The tricky thing is, not all do. Yes it’s true then that you might be paying for counselling twice depending on which clinic you’re with. The benefits for the surrogate (and IPs) with SASS are that the counselling can be with any counsellor they choose, it doesn’t have to be with the clinic counsellor. Therefore if they have a counsellor that meets over Zoom, this might be more convenient for the surrogate. I’m not sure how all of the clinic counsellors work, however with SASS, the surrogate doesn’t have to tell her IPs if she’s accessing counselling. Sometimes, while hormonal and pregnant, a surrogate might need a session to help her work out if a particular issue is as she sees it, or if she’s misinterpreting a situation as she’s pregnant and hormonal. That’s one benefit of SASS counselling. Some pointers about the SASS counselling within the $3000 payment:
- $1500 is kept aside for ongoing counselling once pregnancy attempts begin until 12 months post birth for all team members
- That $1500 is completely refundable at 12 months post birth.
- ‘Top-ups’ of pre-paid counselling amounts arranged between SASS and the IPs if/once the first $1500 is spent. These amounts for counselling are always fully refundable.
There are of course many other benefits to teams to be a part of SASS other than this counselling.
- Lifetime access to the Mini Portal from Education and Mentoring
- Lifetime access to the Full Portal
- Expenses calculator
- Expense account management (joint bank account)
- A neutral third party
- Ongoing support from the SASS team and Mentors
- Regular check ins and guidance for all stages of your journey
- Best practise model to ensure you are all still friends at the end
If you would like to investigate with your IVF clinic further, to see if there are limitations on their counselling, the questions we recommend asking them are:
- Is our surrogate afforded privacy in her ability to book sessions without the IPs being informed?
- Is there a limit to the number of sessions we can have as individuals or as a surrogacy team?
- Could our surrogate have monthly sessions during pregnancy and post birth?
- Are these sessions available until 12 months post birth?
- Are these sessions able to be done over Zoom so our surrogate does not need to attend the clinic?
- Are your counsellors experienced in the complexities of surrogacy relationships or perhaps more experienced in IVF?
- Are we able to choose our preferred counsellor within the clinic or are we allocated a counsellor and cannot change?
I hope this helps to (a) answer some questions you have about SASS counselling and (b) empower you with some questions to ask your IVF clinic about the inclusions of counselling in your package.