Your infertility journey has been arduous. Finally, after many exams, tests, trials, and cycles you have made the decision to use donor egg, sperm, or embryo, also known as third-party reproduction. So what happens now? Well, there is a high probability, that your fertility clinic is going to ask you to meet with a therapist or counselor who specializes in third-party reproduction for a consultation appointment.
WHAT?! A therapist? WHY!?
I know. Trust me, I know. By now you have been to one million appointments and you are just ready to get this show on the road. But trust me, this appointment is an important one.
Why is a consultation important?
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recommends all those interested in pursuing third-party reproduction have a supportive counseling consultation prior to using donor egg, sperm or embryos to conceive. This consultation is designed to allow you and if applicable, your partner to explore the psychological, ethical, and social aspects of third-party reproduction. It gives you space to process the complex issues and feelings that you are experiencing. In addition, it gives you an opportunity to consider issues that that perhaps you haven’t considered and develop a plan for how to manage these issues for yourself and your future child.
What happens at the consultation?
First, I want you to know that meeting with a counselor or therapist is not a “test” that you pass or fail. You are not on trial, and the therapist does not get to determine whether or not you get to be a parent
What kind of topics get discussed?
Each consultation is unique to the couple or individual and their particular circumstance. Here is a sample of some of the topics we may cover during your consultation:
- What are our best options? Why have we decided that this is our best option?
- How do we choose a donor?
- What role will the donor have in our lives, if any?
- Should we tell our child about his/her donor conception?
- Will I feel like my child isn’t really mine?
- I am upset about not having a child who is not biologically mine. Is that ok?
- Should we tell our family members about this?
- How do we deal with questions from the people in our life?
- What if this path doesn’t work?
- Do I tell my child about all of this? How and when?
- Will this upset my child in the future?
What happens after the consultation?
Typically, the therapist or counselor will submit a summary or report directly to your doctor and/or fertility clinic. This report will give your doctor information about what topics were discussed during the session as well as any recommendations for follow-up support or plans to continue counseling. This report will allow your doctor to have the information they need to assist you in taking the next steps in the donor conception process.
The donor consultation is not intended to be a test you and your partner must pass prior to moving forward. Rather, it is a place to process your thoughts, feelings and concerns related to the use of a third-party donation. To learn more or to schedule your third party/donor consultation contact me today.