The Psychological Evaluation of Egg Donors: Why It’s Important and What It Entails
If you’re considering donating your eggs, you’re doing a truly good thing, helping an individual or couple to achieve their childbirth goals. However, your eligibility is not guaranteed, as you’ll have to meet stringent requirements, particularly those for your psychological health. Both for your protection and the intended parents (IPs), these requirements help ensure you completely understand all the benefits and risks associated with being an egg donor. The screening also shows that you have the proper motivation, while being mentally and emotionally capable of completing the donation process.
The Importance of Psychological Screening to Egg Donation
While many candidates find egg donation to be generally positive, it is still a lengthy, involved process, which can impact your overall health. Even if found to be physically healthy, you may still not be eligible for egg donation if you don’t meet certain psychological guidelines.
Egg donors must also commit a lot of time and availability, attending all screenings, monitoring appointments, and egg retrieval. This process’ length and demands can have a powerful emotional and mental impact. If the egg donor center’s screening shows that you possess good psychological health, you’ll likely be able to handle any stressful situations. This ensures that you fully understand the donor process and its benefits and risks. Prospective donors may find this to be a good time to explore their feelings and have their questions answered.
What to Expect From a Psychological Evaluation
Egg donor agencies require candidates to be psychologically healthy. You’ll also need to prove that you’re responsible and fully committed to the process, able to properly coordinate your schedule and activities. In addition, you must show that you’re responsible for maintaining your health, such as taking all medications as prescribed. During the psychological screening, certain personality characteristics are prized, including maturity, dependability, and being organized.
Typically conducted by a licensed psychologist, the screening is designed to ensure you understand all the potential ethical, social, and emotional ramifications of egg donation, now and in the future. It also identifies potential emotional problems, based on the guidelines set forth by The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). Your long-term partner, family, and friends may also be evaluated, to confirm that you have adequate social support. Typically, this entire process, including a clinical interview and standardized test, takes a total of 2-3 hours. Among the topics covered are:
- Work history
- Motivation to donate
- Current life stressors and coping skills
- Traumatic reproductive history
- Interpersonal relationships and sexual history
- Personal and family history of mental health issues
The psychological screening may show that you’re ineligible for donation, due to such reasons as a current psychiatric disorder, inappropriate motivations, a chaotic lifestyle, or unrealistic expectations from the donation process. Women with a history of psychiatric medication use, counseling, sexual abuse, or miscarriage are more likely to be disqualified. Having depression generally removes you from consideration, as it may often be hereditary. You may also be ineligible if you’re taking antidepressants, as the hormone injections may cause contraindications.
Psychological Screening Protects Donors and Parents Alike
Deciding to donate eggs is a generous commitment, but you’ll have to pass the psychological screening. To initiate the donation process, or for questions regarding its emotional impact, contact Egg Donor America for a consultation today.