Episode 69 – Education – Surrogacy Counselling

​Counselling for surrogacy happens at a variety of different times and for different reasons. All types of counselling are appropriate for surrogates and IPs (Intended Parents). The four main stages are



🌟ongoing (while pregnant)

🌟ongoing (after birth)


This page is part of a series of surrogacy education episodes from Anna. On the main podcast page you will find recent episodes and links to other categories: surrogates, gay dads, straight mums and guest / theme.

Join Anna McKie in conversation with surrogates and parents who have navigated Australian altruistic surrogacy. Anna is a gestational surrogate, high school Math teacher and surrogacy educator working with Surrogacy Australia and running SASS (Surrogacy Australia’s Support Service). 

The other episodes of the podcast were recorded as part of our free, fortnightly webinar series. If you would like to attend one, check out our dates and registration links. The recordings can also be found on our YouTube channel so you can see the photos that are described in the recordings.
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Let’s talk about surrogacy counseling. Counseling for surrogacy happens at a variety of different times and for different reasons. All types of counseling are appropriate for surrogates and IPs, intended parents. I’ll break it into four stages though. The first one, pre-surrogacy counseling.

for IPs to help you accept and embrace that surrogacy is your path to growing your family and to help you understand what the altruistic relationship model of surrogacy involves as opposed to the commercial surrogacy model. For surrogates to help you work through any concerns you and your family might have about surrogacy and to help you plan for what your journey might look like. And then the standard one which most people know about is called mandatory counseling. Once you have your surrogacy team,

you will undergo a session for the IPs, a session for the surrogate and her partner, if she has one, and a group session. Now, sometimes there will be more sessions depending on each state and the needs of each group. This is not assessing the IP’s ability to be a parent, rather their ability to manage an altruistic model of surrogacy and the complexities that come with that. The third type, ongoing counseling during pregnancy and or post-birth. This can be done either as a team,

or as IPs on their own or the surrogate on her own to discuss issues that arise during the surrogate pregnancy so that they are discussed when the issues are small. Having a baby with many adults is complicated. It’s a surrogate ship and you’ve never done that before as friends or as family.

And then the fourth one is called post-birth or relinquishment counseling. Now that’s mandatory to have in some states, but even if it’s not mandatory in your state in Australia, we really do recommend that teams have a counseling session booked in together as a post-birth debrief, about three to six weeks post-birth. So that summarizes the four stages of counseling. The one most people think of is that mandatory counseling, which is required before pregnancy attempts begin. I can’t stress enough though, that good surrogacy teams

factor in ongoing counseling for the surrogate and all team members during pregnancy and post-birth. For my team, I had a solo session each trimester of pregnancy, and we also had a team session at about 31 weeks of pregnancy. That was really helpful for our team to discuss some of the challenges that had arisen and to help us to prepare for birth. I then had sessions throughout the year post-birth, but I would have had more sessions than the average surrogate because I had postnatal depression.

I recommend about three to six sessions post-birth for the surrogate to cover things like, one, difficult births and or births that didn’t go to plan and that debrief might arise at any time, not necessarily just after birth. Two, when expressing milk ends as there is a natural drop in oxytocin so she might feel sadder and might find it harder to pinpoint why. Three, when going back to work or her leave ends as there may be sadness that the massive project of surrogacy has ended. Four, nine months in, nine months out.

when baby has been with their parents now longer than with the surrogate. Five, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas Day, because that can sometimes bring up some mixed emotions. And six, the first birthday, as that’s a nice way to round out the year. Our SAS teams have access to counseling until 12 months post-birth, and we encourage the surrogate to have a session at that time at that 12 months post-birth mark to mark the end of being a SAS team. Would you like to read more about counseling?

Narelle Dickinson, a psychologist at Lotus Health and Psychology has a section dedicated to that on her website and she’s based in Queensland, Australia. You can also hear other episodes from some of our amazing Australian surrogacy psychologists. Episode seven with Sarah Jane Gere from Happy Mind Psychology. Episode 55 with Narelle Dickinson from Lotus Health Psychology. And multiple episodes from Katrina Hale can be found on our website. If you are looking for more support from me one-on-one.

register for SASS at surrogacyaustralia.org and think of me as your Siri for surrogacy. If you are enjoying this podcast, I kindly ask that you share it with others or leave a rating or review wherever you listen to the show. Until next time, welcome to the village


Looking to find a surrogate in Australia? Consider joining ⁠SASS⁠.

Looking for an overview of surrogacy? Join us in a free, fortnightly Wednesday night ⁠webinar⁠.

Looking to chat with other IPs and surrogates in a casual setting? Join us for a monthly ⁠Zoom⁠ catch up, one Friday of each month. 

Looking to hear stories from parents through surrogacy and surrogates? Listen to our ⁠podcast⁠ series or watch episodes on our ⁠YouTube⁠ channel. 

Looking for support one-on-one? Register for ⁠SASS⁠ to connect with me – your Siri for Surrogacy, or book in for a private consultation ⁠sass@surrogacyaustralia.org