A thorough psychological assessment of potential surrogate mothers and parents is a necessary component of the surrogacy process. The role of counseling in surrogacy is one of precaution and preparation. While counseling has not always played a role in the surrogacy process, it serves a valuable and indispensable purpose: assisting potential surrogate mothers and parents with complex emotional issues that may arise. Counseling for both the surrogate mother and the potential parents will better prepare both parties for the journey ahead.
Screening Potential Surrogate Mothers
Prospective surrogate mothers must undergo an interview along with a psychological assessment to determine eligibility. Typically, potential surrogates must have an established childbearing history to be eligible for surrogacy.
This initial clinical interview eliminates potential surrogates who may suffer from traumatic emotional histories. Psychologists have found that those who have suffered traumatic pasts often react less favorably to stressful or emotional situations, making them less desirable candidates for surrogacy. This interview also serves to determine a potential surrogate mother’s motivation behind her desire to carry another family’s child.
Mental health screening is another necessary component in the surrogacy selection process and helps to further eliminate less desirable candidates. A candidate’s intellectual capacity, coping mechanisms, defensiveness, and ability to conceptualize, retain information, and handle stress are evaluated as part of the screening process. The evaluation also includes an examination of the surrogate mother’s financial stability as well as her ability to function independently.
Screening Potential Parents
Potential parents of a surrogate child must also be screened for mental health, financial stability, and emotional wellness. An important aspect of this process involves determining the parents’ motivation behind seeking a surrogate mother. An in-depth evaluation of the situation is necessary, and various other options must be discussed to determine if surrogacy is right for any given couple.
Couples must also discuss what type of relationship, if any, they want to have with the surrogate mother post-birth. If the prospective parents desire that little or no contact be established once the child is born, it is unlikely that surrogacy is the best option. Many psychologists have found that an open and trusting relationship between both the mother and the parents of a surrogate child provides the best emotional environment for all parties involved.
In addition, several personality traits, including narcissism, control issues, depression, empathy, emotional flexibility, adaptiveness, and decision-making skills must be considered and evaluated. In doing so, the counselor may determine whether prospective parents are pursuing the most appropriate option for their situation.
The role of counseling in surrogacy not only prepares both parties for the impending pregnancy, but also prepares for the emotional rigors of the days, weeks, and years following the birth. With proper guidance, trust, openness, and compassion, an understanding may be reached that will allow all parties to have a mutually positive and transformative experience with the surrogacy process. If you’d like more information about the process of surrogacy or are looking to become a surrogate, contact Your Choice Florida.