Assisting another person, or a couple, to become parents by acting as a gestational carrier or “surrogate” is an extraordinary gift. Similarly, choosing to transfer human embryos to the uterus of another woman is a significant act of trust and links people together in new and unique ways. Sharing in family creation through gestational surrogacy can be a rewarding, but also a demanding experience that can raise some rather special and complex questions for consideration.
It is extremely important that both the intended parents and the potential surrogate feel fully informed about any potential issues that might arise with this arrangement and fully prepared to proceed with treatment. To assist patients to feel fully prepared for this form of family building, all patients receive both information and preparatory counselling from various members of the team (physician, counsellor, nurse case manager, and financial administrator).
All parties are asked to meet with a counsellor from the Fertility Clinic on at least two separate occasions before treatment begins.
The intended parents meet separately with the counsellor for an initial preparatory counselling session. The proposed gestational carrier is also asked to meet separately with the counsellor for an initial psychosocial assessment and preparatory counselling. Because a potential pregnancy and birth will have a significant impact on a carrier’s lifestyle and existing family, if a potential carrier has a partner, it is extremely important that a partner attend this session.
In providing counselling, there are 4 broad goals: (1) to identify and discuss any potential concerns (psychological, emotional or social) that might arise as a result of the surrogacy arrangement (2) to discuss the future implications of surrogacy; for the carrier, her partner, for the intended parents, and for any existing or resulting children (3) to identify any risk factors that might not have been recognized, (4) to ensure that all parties are making an informed decision.
The intended parents, the carrier and her partner also will meet together with the counsellor in a second appointment on the day of their medical orientation. This second group meeting offers the opportunity for a mutual discussion by all parties, the chance to explore any additional questions or continuing concerns that might have arisen during this preparation phase. The goal is to ensure that all parties feel fully confident and ready to pursue gestational surrogacy.