Why Do Potential Surrogates and Egg Donors need to be Psychologically Screened?
Surrogacy is an emotional and exciting journey, and not just for the intended parents. Surrogates and egg donors may be the most important piece of the puzzle for future families, but it’s important for future surrogates to make sure they’re ready for the commitment. If you’ve decided to become a surrogate or donate eggs, the process ahead is a long, but potentially fulfilling, one.
During the application process, potential surrogates and egg donors are screened for illnesses, both physical and mental, as well as previous pregnancy histories and even their personality type. Why all of these deeply personal tests? Well, surrogacy and egg donation is incredibly serious business; more than one family will be affected by it.
To make sure surrogates and donors are ready, a multi-part screening is performed, including a psychological screening. You’ll want to be prepared for the interviews ahead. To help you plan, here’s what may be covered:
A Clean Bill of Health
Probably the most important, and most obvious, reason for a psychological evaluation is to ensure the surrogate or donor’s clean bill of health. This doesn’t just mean physical health; the screening evaluates surrogates for mental illnesses as well, such as depression, anxiety, or a more severe illness.
Of course, this helps ensure the safety of the baby, but the social worker’s intention is to protect the surrogate or donor as well. If the surrogate struggles with mental illness, she may not want or be able to carry a child to term. Even more so for egg donors, this evaluation can mean rejection from donation, but it’s important to be open and honest with your psychologist.
It’s important to keep in mind that a history of mental or physical illness does not automatically exclude you from becoming a donor or surrogate. It’s important to discuss with your social worker and the organization you decide to work with about your illnesses and how you cope with them.
Previous Pregnancy Complications
During the surrogate evaluation, the social worker or psychologist will ask about previous pregnancies. Other questions will include complications of those pregnancies, how many were had, how many were cesarean section, and so on. Even small pregnancy complications can be cause for concern.
Surrogacy social workers conduct the evaluation to protect the surrogate as well, so it’s important that any and all information that could be helpful is disclosed. The social worker will also need copies of records from previous pregnancies, so be prepared. Hospital and OBG paperwork kept during previous pregnancies will help the social worker decide if it’s safe to continue with the surrogacy.
One of the more interesting parts of the psycho-social evaluation is the personality panel. The lengthy personality exam determines the character traits of a surrogate or egg donor. This portion of the exam can be especially important for egg donation, as the intended parents can screen for certain traits to find the perfect match.
During a mental health screening, your examination may reveal personality traits that don’t work well with surrogacy or donation. For instance, anger or irritability might cause issues down the road, especially during the rollercoaster of emotion that pregnancy brings. These screenings are as much to ensure you’re ready for the journey as they are to help intended parents find the best match for them.
A criminal record can exclude you from becoming a surrogate or egg donor, and is normally done on anyone in your household over the age of 18. This background check scans for previous misdemeanors, felonies, or child abuse from anyone in your home. Not only that, but a background check may also be used to find bankruptcies and aliases. It’s important to speak with your caseworker about what background information can exclude you from becoming a surrogate.
Support System and Home Life
As a surrogate, you’re not making the journey alone. Not only is a team of specialists there to help make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible, but your family will be with you throughout the whole process as well.
During the screening, partners and close family members of the surrogate will also be involved. You’ll discuss with your social worker the support system you have at home in case of an emergency or complication. This helps ensure your comfort and safety as you take the journey to become a surrogate.
If the organization you work with does an in-home visit, they’ll also look at your living situation to help them make their decision. This search is intended to find any safety concerns, but can also tell the social worker more about your personality and way of life; your hobbies, how clean you are, how your own children live, etc.
Not only are your family and friends there for support, but so is the team behind your surrogacy or donation planning. Through the application and interview process, you’ll be asked many, many questions. It may become a bit overwhelming.
Your psychologist and the team at Simple Surrogacy are here to help abate some of the stress you may be feeling. Throughout the interview and application, keep a list of questions you’d like to ask or concerns you have. Your psychologist, while there to evaluate you, will also help answer any questions you might have about surrogacy. Their job is to inform you as much as it is to gain information, so be open with your questions.
Surrogacy and egg donation are huge choices to make and can make all the difference in another family’s lives. The process of becoming a surrogate can feel like a long and complicated one, but it’s important to go through every step.
By going over your previous pregnancy history, record of mental and physical illnesses, background, support network, and even your personality, you’ll be much more likely to match with the perfect couple or single parent. You’ll also provide intended parents with the information they need to make an informed decision and find their perfect match as well.
Not everyone who wants to become a surrogate is truly ready. By conducting a psychological screening, you can make the informed decision of whether or not you are ready to be an egg donor or surrogate.