Consultation Services for Third Party Reproduction
Psychological Evaluation of Egg Donors
Psychological Evaluation of Gestational Surrogate
Consultation With Intended Parents Using Egg/Sperm Donor
Joint Consultation With Intended Parents and Known Egg/Sperm Donor
Consultation Services for Third Party Reproduction: Egg Donors, Sperm Donors and Gestational Carriers
A. Psychological Evaluation of Egg Donor
Prior to donating eggs, the potential egg donor must undergo a psychological evaluation to determine if she is suitable for this process. The donor and her partner will need to meet for an hour-long clinical interview which includes completing a psychological test.
B. Psychological Evaluation of Gestational Carriers
The gestational carrier and her partner require a psychological evaluation to determine her suitability for this process. The woman will complete several psychological tests followed by an hour and a half long clinical interview with the gestational carrier and her partner.
C. Consultation with Intended Parents Using Egg/Sperm Donor
If you are considering using an egg donor, a sperm donor or a gestational carrier, your infertility clinic likely requires you to schedule a consultation with a psychologist specializing in third-party reproduction. The purpose of this meeting is to prepare you for the process and assist you in thinking through implications of this decision for you and your future family.
When you contact me, I will e-mail you a questionnaire that you will fill out and e-mail or fax back to me at least one day prior to your appointment. During our consultation, we will discuss the following issues:
- how to chose a donor that best suites your needs
- pros and cons of a known vs. an anonymous donor
- emotional impact of being a recipient
- how to talk to your family and friends
- concerns about bonding with a child that is not genetically yours
- any sadness and grief about the loss of genetic connection with your child
- how and when to disclose the genetic origins to your child
Sometimes one partner is not ready to let go of the dream of genetic parenthood. If you and your partner are not in the same place with your decision, you may benefit from more than one consultation. After the consultation, you will receive a list of Internet resources and a list of books for parents and children whose families were created by donor egg or sperm.
D. Joint Consultation with Intended Parents and Known Egg/Sperm Donor
If you are using a known donor such as your sister, brother, relative or a friend, your fertility clinic will recommend a joint meeting between intended parents, the donor and her partner. In this meeting we will discuss the following:
- how the egg or sperm donor process may affect the relationship between the donor and recipient in the future
- how and when to share information with the rest of the family
- effects of this process on the donor’s spouse and her children
- your expectations of each other in the future
- what, if anything, the child know about the donor
- any potential relationship the donor will have with the child in the future
Building a family using a known donor can be the most acceptable option for many. However it is a complex process with numerous long-term effects for the donor, recipient and the child.
Your consultation with me can be extremely important and can prevent future problems from occurring. To ensure the success of the process, we spend time early on to define each other’s roles and clarify the boundaries about the future relationship of the donor with the child. This also helps recipients establish themselves as parents.
Individual or Couple’s In-Person Infertility Counseling Sessions
Our initial therapy session will be 60 minutes long and subsequent sessions are 45 minutes.
As we work together in couples therapy regarding your fertility issues, you will discover how to reduce stress caused by infertility and how to take care of yourself.
I will help you deal with any feelings of sadness, anxiety or anger that you may have so that you can move forward in your life in a calmer and more positive manner.
In our infertility therapy sessions, we may explore common issues such as:
- feelings of sadness, anger, jealousy, disappointment
- differences in the way men and women experience infertility and how this impacts their relationships
- lack of understanding or support from your family and friends
- considerating alternative ways of staring your family (e.g. egg or sperm donor, adoption)
Infertility counseling is important. Research shows that the main reason couples stop infertility treatment is not due to lack of money, but because of emotional depletion!
Furthermore, research shows that stress reduces chances of fertility, and infertility counseling reduces stress, improving your chances of conception.
You don’t have to wait until you are worn out and have depleted your resources before turning for help. Many people I have worked with wish they have come for therapy a lot earlier.
Occasionally telephone counseling is an option. It may be recommended for clients that have already established a relationship with me but currently:
- have a significant medical condition that prevents them from driving
- are on bed rest due to medical treatment or to maintain pregnancy
- have a newborn or a sick child at home
- have work or other commitments that conflicts with our usual schedule
- have a disability that makes it difficult to come to my counseling office
Infertility Support Group
The infertility support group is for everyone who is dealing with the issue of infertility—whether you are in the beginning stages of discovering that you are having difficulty conceiving, or have been dealing with infertility for a while. The infertility support group will allow you to meet other individuals and couples who are also enduring and surviving infertility.
You will discover how to:
- manage stress during your infertility treatment
- relieve intense emotions related to infertility such as sadness, guilt, anger, etc.
- strengthen your relationships
- support your marriage
I invite you to join my FREE INFERTILITY SUPPORT GROUP to receive emotional support and feel less isolated.
Infertility Workshops and Seminars
I provide the following seminars for infertility clinics and their clients:
- How To Nurture Your Relationship During Infertility Treatment
- Manage Stress During Infertility Treatment
- Getting Over Losses Inherent in Infertility
- How to Regain Hope After Your Miscarriage or Still Birth
- Prepare for IVF
I invite you to check out my Infertility Workshops and Seminars. These classes are FREE and they are held at 7900 Fannin, Suite 4400 in Houston.
Consultations or Counseling for Parents of Children Conceived by Egg or Sperm Donor
If you are a parent of a child conceived via an egg or a sperm donor you may face unique concerns that your family and friends cannot help you with. You may develop self-doubt or may feel “left out” as a non-genetic parent.
You may worry that disclosing information about your child’s genetic origins will distress your child or weaken your relationship with your child. It is natural to feel anxious about these things. As a parent, you do need support and guidance on how to talk to your child about these topics.
Counseling can help you:
- become more competent and empowered as a parent
- grieve the loss of not having a biological child
- improve your relationship with your child and develop a stronger bond
- handle genetic disclosure at the child’s various developmental stages
- create a life story for your child that would include a donor so that your child develops a healthy identity and sense of self-worth
How you handle the discussion about your unique type of family, and how you respond to your child’s questions and feelings will have a strong impact on how comfortable your child will be with him/herself through childhood and into adulthood.
Together we can resolve the issues that may arise from creating your family with an egg or sperm donor so that you can fully enjoy your children and develop a healthy family.
For more information about any of these infertility counseling services, or to have a free 10 minute telephone consultation with me, you can reach me at (281)-267-1742 OR, you can book your appointment now in my Houston or Woodlands counseling office by clicking on the BOOK NOW button below.
Dr. Irena Milentijevic is a psychologist and therapist who specializes in helping women and couples cope with infertility, women in pregnancy and parents with young children. Her therapy offices are in Houston and in the Woodlands, Texas.