What Does a Psychological Screening in Fertility Consist of?

When entering into the fertility process, there are, what can feel like endless hoops to jump through. From medical exams, paperwork, interviews, legal processes, etc. But something many are surprised is on the list is a psychological screening.

The ASRM (American Society for Reproductive Medicine) is an organization aimed at advancing the practice of reproductive medicine. It also holds guidelines for clinics agencies and mental health professionals to follow in order to stay in compliance with qualifying candidates that participate in any particular journey. These guidelines must be followed carefully and in good faith in order to ensure compliance.

When specifically speaking about gestational carriers, egg/sperm donors and intended parents, they must all be psychologically cleared in order to move forward in their individual processes.

Psychological clearance is required for a few reasons as it pertains to surrogacy; to protect the well-being of the gestational carrier, the well-being of the unborn baby and the well-being of the intended parents. The same also goes for an egg or sperm donor but is additionally inclusive of what the donor carries genetically since the biological components are used, unlike a gestational carrier.

All participants are assessed for emotional and mental stability as well as psychosocial aspects of their past and current life’s circumstances. Their stability is further assessed during a portion of the screening called the personality test. The most common used personality tests are the PAI and MMPI-2. These tests collect data from the respondent by asking multiple choice or true/false questions. The test gauges and assesses the respondent’s thought process and rules out any diagnostic features.

The Psychosocial Assessment portion is an in depth interview in which a history of background is collected from six important categories; Personal, Family History, Pregnancies, Surrogate Support, Surrogacy & Intended Parents and Medical/Psychiatric Background.  The information collected gives the mental health professional doing the testing an accurate portrayal of their abilities as participants in their journey as well as mental and emotional readiness to enter into such a commitment.

Mental health is an essential part of the body’s overall health and should be taken just as seriously. With the help of competent mental health professionals, everyone involved in their surrogacy and/or donation journey is better off and secure in knowing they are ready to take on the beautiful journey of helping to create a family.

  • Alison Chrun, LMFT

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