Why do I need the support of a therapist during the surrogacy process?

There are three groups of issues in assisted reproduction that play an equally important part in your journey to have a baby; medical, legal and psychological. All are equally important and success requires equal attention to all three areas. The best outcomes do not occur by accident. Psychological services are an important part of the surrogacy process and having a qualified therapist skilled at working with issues related to infertility, surrogacy and third party reproduction is an important component of a successful surrogacy outcome. The therapist plays a vital role in assisting the surrogate and intended parents before, during and after the pregnancy.

The support a therapist provides is designed to ensure that the surrogacy experience goes smoothly and that there is a positive emotional outcome for both you and your surrogate. The goal of the therapist is to foster good communication and a positive relationship between you and your surrogate and to make sure that each of you are emotionally and psychologically prepared for your journey together.

Often you and your surrogate do not live near one another and you may feel concern about her mental health during the pregnancy. Having a therapist involved will help you feel secure by knowing that your surrogate is getting the emotional support she needs to help ensure a calm, relaxed and positive pregnancy experience for the surrogate and your baby.

For many people surrogacy may be their last hope to have a child and while the surrogacy process is exciting it will often bring up emotional issues for the intended parent. Some emotional issues that may surface are grief over not being able to carry the baby, loss of control over the pregnancy, anxiety awaiting the birth of the child, concern over how to communicate with the surrogate about sensitive issues such as how you would like the delivery to go or what type of contact you desire after the baby is born, worry and fear over what to tell the child about the special circumstances in which they were born, etc.

During the surrogacy process there are also unexpected issues that can arise between you and your surrogate. The therapist will be there to help each of you cope with any emotional challenges that may occur and help maximize positive feelings between you and your surrogate. The therapist will stay involved throughout the pregnancy to help keep the relationship on track and help ensure that this is a positive experience for everyone involved.

About Valerie Gelb

Valerie Gelb is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a specialty in issues related to infertility. She provides a number of services including mental health assessments and evaluations of potential surrogates, egg donors and intended parents, counseling for individuals and couples, as well as facilitates support groups for surrogates, intended parents and women and couples going through infertility.

Valerie completed her Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy at Pepperdine University and has been licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist for over ten years. She currently has a private practice in Laguna Hills, California.

Valerie's interest in infertility and assisted reproduction stems from her own experience with infertility. Her personal and professional experience provides her with the knowledge to skillfully assess prospective surrogates and egg donors. It also has given her the ability to provide support and guidance to individuals pursuing assisted reproduction.