Psychological assessment of gestational carrier candidates: current approaches, challenges, and future considerations
Emerging research suggests that using a multimethod approach in the psychological assessment of gestational carriers may yield a more comprehensive psychological profile of candidates. This could allow mental health professionals to determine psychological appropriateness with more confidence.
Volume 113, Issue 5, Pages 897–902
Mary P. Riddle, Ph.D.
The role of a mental health professional (MHP) in the psychological assessment of gestational carrier (GC) candidates has evolved over time, with clinical practices well established in the United States. Current ASRM guidelines recommend that all GC candidates undergo a psychosocial consultation and psychological testing (where deemed appropriate). Practice standards are relatively consistent among mental health disciplines, with assessments typically involving a clinical interview and the administration of a single, objective, self-report personality inventory. Although recent studies have established normative data for GCs, there has been little research into which assessment protocols are best suited to answer the referral questions of interest. Current challenges for MHPs placed in a gate-keeping role include providing a thorough screening using measures that typically yield defensive profiles that make them difficult to interpret. Research is emerging that suggests that using a multimethod approach in the psychological assessment of GCs may yield a more comprehensive psychological profile of GC candidates. This could allow MHPs to determine psychological appropriateness with more confidence and contribute additional data to be used in pre-surrogacy counseling. Assessing the psychological appropriateness of a woman to serve as a GC is a complex process, and there are a multitude of factors that must be considered, not the least of which are the psychological well-being of a potential GC, her partner, and her children throughout the process and beyond.