Updated: Sep 7
If you are starting the process to become a gestational carrier (GC), congratulations! What an amazing gift you are about to give the individual or couple whose child you will be carrying! As you begin to tackle your to-do list, you are likely very excited and nervous. All GCs need to undergo a screening process of your medical and psychological health to ensure you are well-prepared for the journey ahead. Carrying someone else’s child is a major life event!
The following are some common questions that we will be answering to help you understand what to expect during your gestational carrier psychological evaluation.
Why Do I need a Psychological Evaluation?
All potential GCs are required to undergo a psychological evaluation. This may seem scary or strange, but it is a necessary step to ensure you are in the best of health. Carrying a child for someone else is extremely generous but also a big responsibility. You will be the one experiencing the physical and emotional changes during pregnancy.
Another important part of being a GC is having a healthy relationship with the intended parents. They will undergo their own session with a mental health professional to discuss their infertility struggles, process their grief about not being able to carry their own child, and their feelings about using a GC. Like you, they will go through many different emotions and experiences along the way. Your psychological evaluation will consist of a clinical interview and psychological testing so your personality traits, communication style, stressors, and expectations of being a GC are well-understood.
We love working with GCs at Ebb & Flow Counseling + Coaching and we would like to take a few minutes to tell you what to expect during a psychological evaluation with us.
Gestational Carrier Psychological Evaluation:
The Clinical Interview
The first step of the psychological evaluation, is to do a “clinical interview” with you and also your partner (if applicable) where we get to know you better. This will be a video session. We will ask you questions about your past and your current life circumstances to understand who you are and how your experiences have shaped you. This may include certain stressors and painful life events you’ve been through. We will also discuss why you wanted to be a GC and your hopes and expectations within the role. We will ask you about your support network and if you have a partner, we will want to meet with them also. It is important that we know who is supporting you throughout your GC journey.
Gestational Carrier Psychological Evaluation:
The personality assessment we use is the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI). The PAI consists of 344 items and requires 50-60 minutes to administer. Each item is rated on a 4-point true/false scale.
It will be emailed to you to complete online the day of your clinical interview. It takes about an hour to complete on your home computer. The questions will cover things like mood, stress, alcohol/drug concerns, anger issues, and personality traits.
Once completed, we will integrate the test results into the report that goes to your agency or clinic. If we have any concerns about the PAI results or your candidacy as a GC, we will contact you directly.
Remember that the purpose of the psychological evaluation is not about deciding whether or not you are mentally well. It is about understanding who you are, your background, your desires to be a GC and whether you will be a good fit as a GC.
The goal of the psychological evaluation is to help ensure that the journey goes as smoothly as possible for you and the Intended Parents.
Our Clinicians at Ebb & Flow Counseling + Coaching
Dr. Jennifer Collins is the Owner of Ebb & Flow and a licensed psychologist. She is a member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and its Mental Health Professional Group. She consistently attends the annual Jefferson Infertility Counseling Conference. Dr. Collins has been licensed as a psychologist since 2011. She has worked many years in women’s health and infertility. She conducts Psychological Evaluations for Gestational Carriers. She also provides 3rd party reproduction consultations for intended parents using donor sperm, donor egg or donor embryo. She has an excellent understanding of the 3rd party reproduction process and will make you feel at ease.
Dr. Rachel Brookland is an early career licensed psychologist. She is a highly skilled clinician with specialties in women’s health and maternal mental health. She is currently conducting 3rd party reproduction consultations for intended parents using donor sperm, donor egg, or donor embryo. She is in training to provide the clinical interview portion of psychological evaluations for gestational carriers. She administers the psychological assessment component of the GC psychological evaluations and scores/interprets the PAI.
Katelyn Anderson, MA is a doctoral candidate in psychology. She is currently in training to provide infertility consultations and evaluations. Her specialties are in women’s health, grief/loss, and pain management. She is well-versed in psychological testing and administering, scoring, and interpreting the PAI.
How to Schedule with Us:
Ebb & Flow Counseling + Coaching
We offer easy online scheduling under the Schedule a Session tab of the website (counseling) or directly here.