Mental health and surrogacy have both been hot topics in recent years for their important roles in our ever-changing society and the media. So what do the two have in common and what does mental health have to do with surrogacy anyway? Well, if you ask me, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at a leading Surrogacy and Egg Donation Agency, I’ll tell you it has everything to do with the journey.
Mental health is a critical piece to the puzzle of every surrogacy journey and because there are several important pieces, each must be treated with professional care. At Extraordinary Conceptions, there are two in-house Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists whose primary commitment is to the mental health and emotional stability of the surrogates, intended parents, and egg donors.
Why do Intended Parents need to consult with a mental health professional?
Intended Parents come to Extraordinary Conceptions with hopes of creating a family. The journey they’ve taken to get to this point has typically been a long and rough one, at best. The relationship between the intended parents and their agency should be handled with care and compassion. The in-house therapists consult and screen each intended parent to ensure they are prepared for the emotional and exciting process that lies ahead. The consult includes a thorough questionnaire about their past experiences, present circumstances, and future dreams. It’s important that each intended parent have clear intentions and a strong support system during their time with their agency. Extraordinary Conceptions goes the extra mile to provide a built-in support system in their Psychological Department.
The Intended Parents also rely heavily on the mental health professionals to screen the potential surrogates who will be carrying their child(ren).
Why do potential Surrogates need to be psychologically screened?
Becoming a surrogate is a long, yet rewarding process that must be taken seriously; therefore, every surrogate must complete and pass the psychological screening in order to move forward in the journey with their intended parents. Each surrogate is assessed for emotional and psychological stability to take on the commitment of carrying someone else’s child. In the process of preparing and carrying a child, the surrogate will endure around three months of hormone medications. The psychological screening assesses the surrogate’s capability of taking on the responsibility and handling the effects of such medication.
Hormones can alter the state of mind and emotions, so it’s crucial to assess for stability and consistency with each surrogate. Each surrogate, once matched with intended parents, undergoes a psychosocial assessment, a personality test and a detailed overview of their medical records by the professionals in the Psychological Department. This entire process ensures that only the most emotionally and physically qualified surrogates participate in the journey of surrogacy.
Why are Egg Donor candidates psychologically screened?
Becoming an egg donor is a different and unique commitment altogether. The donor’s genetics are an additional factor in the process, unlike a surrogate. It’s vital that the donors undergo psychological screenings in order to assess for past and present psychological stressors and diagnoses. Along with her genetic factors, the therapists also assess for an understanding of the process and commitment she is embarking on. A support network is equally as important for an egg donor as it is for a surrogate and intended parent. The mental health professionals provide education and consistent support through the entire process of egg donation. Each egg donor also undergoes hormone medication for a duration of time, therefore, the psychological screening ensures the donor is emotionally stable enough to endure such medications and temporary fluctuations in her hormone levels.
Mental health is just as important as physical health. It’s Extraordinary Conception’s mission to provide a commitment to therapeutic care, a supportive environment and positive experience for each participant of every journey.
-by Alison Chrun