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Surrogacy provides an incredible opportunity for individuals and couples to realize their dreams of parenthood. However, it’s also filled with complex emotions for surrogates and intended parents. The surrogacy process involves many challenges and milestones, each bringing emotional highs and lows. Ensuring the mental health of all parties involved is important to navigating these emotions. 

Continuous mental health support for surrogates and intended parents helps manage stress, anxiety, and the many emotions that arise during this unique journey. In this blog, we’ll explore the role and importance of mental health support throughout the surrogacy process.

The Psychological Demands of Surrogacy

Surrogacy can be an emotional rollercoaster filled with highs and lows. There is an initial sense of excitement, coupled with the fulfillment of helping others achieve their dream of parenthood. However, the medical process of surrogacy, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) and hormone treatments, can be physically and emotionally taxing, leading to periods of stress and anxiety.

The IVF process can be particularly demanding as surrogates navigate medical procedures and await outcomes. The medications used in IVF can cause side effects like increased anxiety, mood swings, irritability, and depression. The stress of keeping up with regular injections and the uncertainty of the embryo transfer can add additional emotional strain. 

Additionally, finding a suitable family to work with can add stress. Given these emotional challenges, mental readiness and stability are crucial for surrogates. Professional counseling and a strong support system can help manage these challenges. Surrogacy agencies like Joy of Life provide comprehensive support, assisting surrogates through the medical process and addressing any emotional concerns that arise.

Mental Health Support for Surrogates

A potential surrogate sits across from a medical professional who is conducting a psychological screening.

Screening and Evaluation

Rigorous psychological screening and evaluation are essential to ensure potential surrogates are mentally prepared. Surrogates undergo comprehensive interviews with licensed psychologists to evaluate their motivations, support systems, and overall emotional readiness. These interviews delve into the surrogate’s personal history, exploring past experiences that may influence their ability to cope with the emotional demands of surrogacy. Reviewing mental health histories and assessing family dynamics further ensures that surrogates have a stable and supportive environment throughout the surrogacy process. 

The tools used during the surrogate’s screening may vary depending on the surrogacy agency. This process typically involves tools like the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI), which assesses various aspects of one’s mental health, such as anxiety, depression, and coping mechanisms. This test helps identify potential concerns that could impact a surrogate’s ability to manage the demands of surrogacy. 

A thorough evaluation process helps identify potential issues early on, allowing for proactive support and intervention if needed and setting up all parties for a successful and emotionally healthy experience.

Ongoing Psychological Support

Continuous mental health check-ins are essential throughout the surrogacy to ensure the surrogate’s well-being. The process can be emotionally demanding, with pregnancy side effects such as morning sickness, cravings, bloating, and back pain adding additional stress to the surrogate. Ongoing support may include:

  • Regular Check-ins: Licensed mental health professionals monitor the surrogate’s emotional well-being, address concerns, and provide coping strategies.
  • Support Groups: Peer support groups offer a sense of community, allowing surrogates to share experiences and seek advice.
  • Individual Counseling: Available if needed, providing a safe space to process emotions and receive personalized support.
  • Educational Resources: These help surrogates understand potential emotional challenges and equip them with strategies to maintain their mental health.

When working with a surrogacy agency like Joy of Life, surrogates receive comprehensive psychological support. We work with psychologists to offer accessible mental health support to help them navigate emotional challenges.

Postpartum Mental Health

The postpartum period can be emotionally challenging for surrogates as they transition from pregnancy to life after birth. Postpartum counseling plays a vital role in helping surrogates process their emotions, such as grief, loss, or emptiness that can arise after separating from the child they carried. Counseling provides a safe space to express these emotions and develop coping strategies to help with postpartum recovery.

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a common condition that can significantly impact mental health. Symptoms may include:

  • Prolonged sadness
  • Loss of interest in usual activities
  • Feelings of worthlessness and excessive worry

Regular screening and early detection are essential to manage these symptoms effectively. Surrogates may also experience separation grief when parting ways with the baby, and grief counseling can help manage these feelings constructively.

A strong support system, including support groups and family education, is crucial postpartum. These resources help surrogates connect with others with similar experiences and foster a sense of community and understanding. 

Mental Health Support for Intended Parents

Managing Expectations and Reality

The surrogacy process is often emotionally intense for the intended parents. Intended parents usually experience a mix of excitement and hope about starting or expanding their family, alongside anxiety and stress due to the uncertainties involved. There can also be feelings of disappointment or sadness if setbacks or complications occur and a sense of loss of control over the pregnancy experience.

Setting realistic expectations helps manage these emotions. The surrogacy process is complex and may not always go as planned. Intended parents should also emotionally prepare for successful and unsuccessful attempts. Be prepared for potential delays, failed embryo transfers, or complications, and recognize that the surrogate’s health is the top priority. It’s important to have a contingency plan for any scenarios that may arise, which will help instill confidence.

A couple's therapy session where one woman is comforting her wife by putting a hand on their shoulder while a therapist listens in the background.

Dealing with Grief and Loss

For many intended parents, the decision to pursue surrogacy followed a long and challenging journey of infertility struggles or failed IVF attempts. These experiences can lead to feelings of grief and loss that need to be addressed. It’s important to recognize that these emotions are valid and know that grief can resurface during the surrogacy process.

Seeking professional counseling or therapy can help intended parents work through these emotions. Counseling provides a safe space to express feelings without judgment and offers coping strategies. Connecting with others who have had similar experiences can also provide a sense of community and understanding. Support groups allow intended parents to share their stories, seek advice, and find encouragement from those who have faced similar challenges. This shared experience can help reduce feelings of isolation, reminding them they’re not alone in their struggles.

Navigating Uncertainty and Anxiety

Intended parents often face significant anxiety, particularly concerning the surrogate’s health and the baby’s well-being. The inability to directly oversee the surrogate’s daily activities and lifestyle choices can intensify these feelings, as intended parents may worry about factors beyond their control.

Counseling can provide stress management techniques and coping strategies, while support groups allow intended parents to connect with others facing similar challenges and share their concerns in a supportive environment. Practicing mindfulness, relaxation exercises and other self-care activities can also help manage anxiety and maintain overall well-being during this emotionally demanding experience. Regular updates from the surrogate and medical professionals can also help alleviate uncertainties about the pregnancy’s progress.

The Role of Mental Health Professionals in Surrogacy


Mental health professionals help surrogates and intended parents prepare for the emotional aspects of surrogacy. They provide a safe space for intended parents to process feelings of grief, loss, and emotional trauma from previous infertility struggles or failed IVF attempts. For surrogates, they help them understand medical procedures, legal implications and potential emotional challenges. They also evaluate the surrogate’s support network to ensure she has the support to complete this challenging process.

They also guide surrogates and intended parents about managing expectations, dealing with uncertainty, and navigating complex relationships. This ensures both parties have a realistic understanding of surrogacy and the tools to maintain their emotional well-being. Emotional readiness is paramount, as surrogates need to handle the demands of pregnancy and separation from the child. At the same time, intended parents must manage anxiety, potential bonding issues, and other complexities of the surrogacy experience. This preparation sets the foundation for a successful and emotionally healthy surrogacy.


Mental health professionals help build trust between surrogates and intended parents, which is essential for a successful surrogacy experience. They can facilitate joint counseling sessions, providing a safe and neutral space for open communication. These sessions allow both parties to voice their expectations, concerns, and boundaries, fostering mutual understanding and respect from the outset. By guiding surrogates and intended parents through emotional dynamics, mental health professionals help develop effective communication, conflict resolution skills, and healthy boundaries.

Additionally, intended parents undergo thorough psychological evaluations to ensure their emotional stability and readiness. These assessments evaluate coping mechanisms, identify potential concerns, and address any underlying mental health issues or unrealistic expectations. This process demonstrates the intended parents’ commitment to the well-being of the surrogate and the child, helping to build trust and assurance. Through these efforts, mental health professionals lay the foundation for a strong and trusting partnership and, ultimately, a fulfilling surrogacy experience.

Ongoing Support

Mental health professionals remain actively involved throughout the surrogacy process to ensure the emotional well-being of surrogates and intended parents. Regular counseling sessions offer a safe space for both parties to express feelings and concerns. Support group meetings facilitated by mental health professionals provide a sense of community, allowing individuals to connect with others who understand their experiences. These groups help reduce feelings of isolation and provide encouragement and advice.

Mental health professionals maintain open lines of communication with surrogates and intended parents, ensuring any issues are promptly addressed. They can act as mediators, facilitating healthy dialogue and conflict resolution and fostering empathy. Even after the birth, they offer counseling services to help surrogates and intended parents adjust to new dynamics and seek support as they transition into their new roles and family structures. This ongoing support ensures the overall well-being of all parties involved, contributing to a smoother and more fulfilling surrogacy experience.

Close-up of a therapist holding hands with a person, providing emotional support during a counseling session.

Get Comprehensive Mental Health Support During Surrogacy With Joy of Life

Mental health check-ins are necessary for addressing the emotional complexities of surrogacy, ensuring that both surrogates and intended parents receive the support they need. From screening and evaluation to ongoing psychological support and postpartum care, maintaining mental health is essential for a successful and fulfilling experience.

At Joy of Life, we are dedicated to providing comprehensive mental health support for surrogates and intended parents. Our team of professionals is committed to guiding you through every step of the process, ensuring you feel supported and cared for.

Apply to become a surrogate today and join a community that values and supports your incredible contribution.

Joy Millan

Author Joy Millan

I’m Joy, the founder and CEO of Joy of Life. With a professional background as a fertility clinician, I’ve spent thousands of hours working with surrogates and intended parents alike. As a mother of two, I often wished for more support and a deeper commitment to care for those embarking on non-traditional family-building journeys. This is why I established Joy of Life: to create a more robust, compassionate experience in parenthood for both parties involved with surrogacy. In 2021, I stepped back from daily operations at Joy of Life to fight cancer. Fortunately, the combined 20 years of experience from our incredible team has allowed me to focus on my health & recovery. I continue to provide company guidance and serve as the head liaison for our network of doctors, clinicians and caregivers.

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