By Jan Elman Stout, Psy.D.

When it comes to egg donation and gestational surrogacy, whether as an intended parent, donor or surrogate, consulting with a mental health professional who specializes in infertility counseling is critical.

Prospective parents may worry that such a referral prior to pursuing medical treatment is to assess their sanity, to decide if  they should become parents. Not at all! The main focus of this type of consultation is to better educate future parents about their chosen family-building method.

This path leads prospective parents to many choices along the way; a mental health professional helps prepare them to make informed choices that are consistent with their personal needs and interests.

Some of the questions a mental health professional may address with you, to assist you in making the best possible choices, include:

  • Do you know how to select a medical program that is right for you?
  • Do you know how to choose a donor or gestational carrier agency to help recruit an appropriate candidate for you?
  • Do you know what’s important in choosing an egg donor or gestational carrier?
  • Are you planning to inform your children about how you became a family?
  • Are you planning on sharing your family story with others?

Being psychologically screened to become an egg donor or gestational carrier is also very important.  A mental health professional can help identify whether or not you are an appropriate egg donor or gestational carrier candidate. The goal is to help you have as much satisfaction and as little regret as possible with your role in this process.  Among the questions the mental health professional will help you answer:

  • Why do you want to be a donor or surrogate?
  • What do you hope to gain through this loving act?
  • Do you know what is involved in the process and are you prepared to assume the emotional and other risks?
  • Can you benefit from guidance in determining whether this is a good decision for you, not only for the moment but also in the future?

At the end of the day, the overriding goal in the counseling process is to facilitate the creation of happy parents, children, and donors and surrogates. Keep this in mind when you feel hesitant to pick up the phone to call the mental health professional for an appointment. Our primary aim is to help, not hinder your efforts to meet your life goals.