The thought of having to undergo a psychological evaluation can seem very intimidating — our mental states are very personal and often a sensitive subject, and it can be stressful to think about an expert “assessing” you to see if you are emotionally and mentally able to become a gestational surrogate. It’s a completely normal thing to be worried about, even if you’ve never had concerns about your mental health before.
What is the purpose of a psychological evaluation?
The main goal of the psychological evaluation is to figure out how to best prepare and advise you, the surrogate, for the full surrogacy experience. This assessment helps determine how to do that by allowing the agency to understand your mind a bit better, while also keeping your psychological best interests as a priority throughout the process.
The “psych evaluation”, as scary as it may seem, it’s still an extremely important part of the surrogacy process. It helps make sure that you are in a sound mind and will be mentally and emotionally capable to take on whatever is thrown at you as you go through this journey alongside your intended parents. Don’t think of it as a person in a white coat staring at you with wide eyes and a magnifying glass — just think of it as a typical part of the surrogacy process that helps make sure you are ready for the journey, as this is exactly what it is!
Here are five things you can expect during your psych evaluation.
- Be prepared to answer difficult questions.
It’s a psych evaluation, so you will need to answer questions that assess your state of mind and perception of surrogacy. These questions may be invasive, and they will require you to step out of your comfort zone. It’s important that you’re honest when answering these questions, and the person performing the test will be able to pick up on it if you are deceitful with your answers. Some examples of questions you may be asked include:
- Why do you want to be a surrogate?
- How do you manage yourself in stressful situations?
- How do you feel about how parentage is established pre/post-birth?
- What are your thoughts on the termination of a pregnancy for a medical condition?
- Be ready to answer questions about how you manage stress.
A big part of the psych evaluation is determining whether or not you have adequate support throughout the surrogacy journey. You should prepare yourself to answer questions about how you manage stress, what you do to relax and overcome stress, and what your support system looks like.
- Know that you will likely have to take a lengthy online personality test.
The psych evaluation is not just a one-on-one meeting with a trained professional. You should also expect to fill out a computer-generated personality test, like the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) or the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI). Tests like the MMPI and PAI help gauge your personality type, and they are useful for understanding what kind of person you are.
- Understand that no one is trying to trick you.
A lot of times, people think of these tests as asking questions that are meant to “trick” you using psychological tactics. Know that this is far from the truth. You will never be asked a question to try and deceive you so that assumptions are made about you. The psych evaluation is very transparent.
- Realize that the psych evaluation is not a long test.
You aren’t going to be sitting for hours in a small, dimly lit room with a lamp’s lightbulb to your face like in the movies. The psych evaluation is not a police interrogation! Most evaluations take less than an hour to complete.
All in all, it’s normal to feel intimidated or stressed at the thought of having to complete a psych evaluation. Just know that it is a routine part of the surrogacy journey. No one likes to have their mental or emotional state put in the spotlight, but it’s important to make sure that everything is A-OK upstairs before moving forward. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the idea of a psych evaluation, consider conducting a few “test” evaluations with someone from your support system.