Conversations around mental health are always important. Not only does it reveal to those struggling they’re not alone, but it allows a supportive community to envelop them. If you’re going through the surrogacy process, either as intended parents or as a surrogate, your mental health should be a top priority. The mental health implications of surrogacy are considered in every case we work on, and psychological exams are a part of our extensive screening process. Surrogacy is a complicated emotional journey, so it’s essential that both parents and surrogates take care of their mental well-being every step of the way.
When acting as a surrogate, whether for traditional or gestational surrogacy, mental health is essential. Being emotionally mature and in a healthy state of mind is part of our requirements for being a surrogate. These requirements are essential for making the process as healthy as possible for you, the intended parents, and the baby. Moreover, it keeps you prepared for the emotional journey you’ll go through as a surrogate.
There are many emotional aspects involved in surrogacy that can both positively and negatively impact your mental health. The joy of helping parents who couldn’t conceive otherwise, like couples or individuals dealing with infertility or LGBTQ individuals or couples, can be incredibly rewarding. However, studies have shown that surrogates have higher rates of depression than biological mothers during pregnancy and postpartum. There are many reasons for this, such as feeling a lack of support, as well as some complicated emotional ties to carrying a child that is not their own. These aspects put surrogates at high risk for postpartum depression.
To practice safe surrogacy, it’s important that all emotional and mental health factors are considered. Allowing surrogates to bond with their intended parents, making sure the surrogate has a support system both during and after pregnancy, and properly vetting for mentally stable surrogates can ensure everyone comes through the process feeling the joy it can provide. Having these conversations about mental health also allows room for when you experience some of the very normal challenges along the way. It’s completely normal to need support, especially during big life changes, and these conversations can help connect you with the resources you need. After giving birth, staying in contact with the intended parents, seeking treatment for depression, and maintaining regular counseling can be invaluable resources. Open conversations about your mental health are essential for surrogates to have the healthy, joyful experience that surrogacy is meant to be.
At All Families Surrogacy, mental health counseling is included in every surrogacy contract. We host monthly mental health sessions with a mental health professional who is also available to work individually with all of our surrogates should they want to.
Mental wellness is an important consideration for intended parents, too! It is possible that some families may bring unintended emotional baggage into their surrogacy experience. Like with our surrogates, one of our requirements for intended parents is a psychological examination to determine if surrogacy is right for them at this time. While you won’t necessarily deal with the hormonal effects that a surrogate will, your mental health as a parent is just as important and can go up and down through the process.
Parents may opt for surrogacy for a number of reasons, one common reason being infertility. There is a strong relationship between fertility and your mental health, and those opting for surrogacy should take time to recognize that their experiences with infertility can be traumatic and should be addressed as they move through the surrogacy process. This is essential, as some couples who are emotionally unprepared can experience feelings of jealousy or resentment during their journey. Working with a counselor before pursuing surrogacy can help make sure you’re in a place where you feel comfortable moving forward.
As with surrogates, intended parents will experience ups and downs throughout their journey, and leaving space to acknowledge these feelings is essential. The most important thing to remember is to keep that line of communication open; bottling up your emotions can have detrimental effects on your overall health. As such, having a surrogacy experience that recognizes and validates your emotions is incredibly important for you and your partner.
Hopefully, reading through this article has prepared you for the mental health conversations the surrogacy process raises. If you’re ready to take the next steps forward, we have information for both intended parents as well as prospective surrogates on what to do. Or, you can feel free to call us today at (503) 936-7960 or send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org