Emotional Support & Counseling

For donation & surrogacy

Navigating the complex emotional, medical, legal, and ethical choices involved with third-party fertility treatment is nothing short of heroic. Your journey to create a family has probably been challenging already – perhaps including months and years of fertility treatment, expenses, frustration, and also determination that kept you moving forward.

Whether you are a same-sex or heterosexual couple considering third-party parenting, RSC will support you emotionally as well as medically.

Part of the broad base of support for our patients involved in third-party fertility treatment includes psychological evaluation. RSC requires that patients, donors – if known, surrogates or gestational carriers all participate in some psychological counseling, in addition to extensive medical screening.

Mother kissing little baby at home

Breaking Barriers, Building Families

Since 1983, we have pioneered fertility treatment for every kind of family. We want to help you achieve your dream of having a baby.

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Fertility treatment in general, and third party parenting especially, can affect how you see yourself, your sexual relations, your primary relationship, your relationships with family, friends, and your extended community. RSC will guide you to qualified therapists who understand this new terrain and can gently guide you toward more comfort, understanding, and communication throughout the journey.

Fertility treatment’s emotional process

  • The process of clarifying your deepest values and selecting appropriate donors, surrogates, or gestational carriers is profound and among the most important decisions you will ever make.
  • Couples often have different coping styles that may seem more exaggerated and difficult to resolve during treatment.
  • Individual attitudes toward treatment can cause friction within your relationship. For example, one partner may want to pursue all options, while the other may not want to be as aggressive. Fertility treatments performed primarily on the woman can create unequal emotional and physical burdens that can strain the relationship.
  • Depression, anger, anxiety, frustration, irritability, and grief are normal responses to fertility treatment.
  • Hormones have profound effects on emotion, so treatments that send hormone levels shooting up and down may magnify the turmoil.

Counseling supports treatment

  • The best programs like RSC build psychological support systems into their fertility treatment program. Your doctor will recommend therapists who specialize in fertility care and third party reproduction.
  • Professional counseling can ease the emotional stress and may even improve the odds of conceiving a child. Researchers found that couples who participate in group counseling sessions are more likely to get pregnant than couples who did not. It is not clear whether the counseling sessions caused the difference, whether the participants were more likely to try high-tech treatments because of the support, or whether it was just a coincidence.
  • Most people end treatment because they run out of emotional energy, not money. Couples may find it difficult to make decisions about alternative treatments or to end treatment. Counseling may help the couple press on – or realize when it’s time to stop treatment.

Counseling resources

RESOLVE is a national support organization for couples with infertility. Resolve has an active presence in the Bay Area. View their ongoing local support groups at resolve.org.

Several counselors in the Bay Area also host local support groups where those managing infertility can come together. Please contact one of the following counselors if you are interested in learning more about a particular meeting.

  • Qin Fan, PsyD, (415) 595-8577, hosts a support group in San Francisco
  • Theresa Fleury, PhD, (510) 334-1663, hosts a support group in Oakland
  • Maria Rivas-Wolf, MFT, (650) 208-9815, hosts a support group in San Mateo on the fourth Thursday of every month.