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Protocols and guidelines for managing surrogacy

Evaluates the role of the counselor when counseling the genetic couple and host taking part in the surrogacy procedure.

Independent counseling

It is strongly recommended that both the couple and the host  are counseled.

The independent counseling of both genetic and host couples is strongly recommended. This is because of many psychological, ethical and legal issues surrounding surrogacy. The role of the counselor is to ensure that all implications of the procedure have been carefully explored and help all parties concerned to come to an understanding of the tremendous impact that surrogacy will have on their life, on the child born as a result of treatment and other children the couple have as well as the difficulties that lies a head.

The counselor may also address issues of confidentiality, the payment of expenses to the host, and the adoption of the baby by the genetic couple.

The counselor may address antenatal screening for example for spina bifida and Down's syndrome and what should be done if the baby is found to have congenital abnormalities. In addition the counselor may discuss the risk of multiple pregnancy and what the parents will tell the child when they grow up.

The distress generated when surrogacy arrangements breaks down can be catastrophic and great care should be taken to provide adequate counseling before embarking on this treatment.

Dr. Imrie and colleagues from the University of Cambridge, UK reported (2002) that children of mothers who have carried a surrogate baby for another couple do not face negative consequences as a result of surrogacy. All children interviewed in the study have a positive view of surrogacy and their mother's involvement.

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