At first, you might balk at the suggestion that you need therapy before being deemed “fit” to become a dad via surrogacy. (Particularly since, as gay men, we all know a straight parent or two who could have used a good head shrinking before being allowed to have children.) But the process of becoming fathers via a gestational surrogate is an emotional one for everyone. Counseling is an essential part of the process. To prepare, take a look at some of the topics gay men can expect from their psychosocial screening, courtesy of the guidelines issued by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM):
Psychological Risk Assessment: In your clinical interview, your counselor will try to help flag any potential issues that could prevent a successful collaboration between intended parents and gestational carrier. It is also meant to help inform intended parents of potential emotional and psychological risks that can arise throughout a gestational carrier process.
Relationship with Gestational Carrier: The psychosocial evaluation will also help establish some ground rules to ensure you and your partner have a healthy relationship with your gestational carrier. You may discuss the type of relationship you want with your carrier and her family after the birth of your child, for instance. You may also develop methods for resolving potential conflict surrounding a carrier’s behavior, such as eating habits, drug and alcohol use, or any mixed emotions with regards to your sexual orientation or gender identity.
Discussion of Process: Your psychosocial screening will also help make sure you are informed of all medical protocol involved in a surrogacy journey. This can include: risk of unsuccessful cycles, the number of embryos typically transferred, the possibility of conceiving multiple children, the option to reduce or terminate a pregnancy, and a discussion surrounding disposition of any extra embryos following a successful pregnancy and birth.
Introduction of Medical Professionals: A surrogacy journey requires a wide array of medical professionals. You psychosocial evaluation will also help you understand the roles of the medical professionals involved, and what you can expect from each.
Rights of Gestational Carrier: Your counselor will seek to ensure you have a good understanding of the rights of your gestational carrier throughout the surrogacy journey. Your gestational carrier, for instance, will always have the right to make a decision over her body. She can refuse to accept medical interventions or testing, for instance, and must agree to the number of embryos to be transferred.
The psychosocial screening shouldn’t be something to fear. Counseling should be viewed as a great opportunity for you, your partner, and your gestational carrier to prepare for the experience. The process can be long and emotionally draining for all involved, but with a little preparation, you can anticipate and plan for your needs, as well as those of your gestational carrier, to make sure your journey is a success.
More for gay men considering surrogacy: