OBJECTIVE: To characterize the sociodemographic and psychological profiles of participant groups involved in altruistic surrogacy in Australia.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.
SETTING: Single psychological practice in Sydney, Australia.
PATIENT(S): Six hundred and two individuals involved in 160 altruistic surrogacy arrangements: 143 intended mothers, 175 intended fathers (including 17 same-sex intended father couples), 160 surrogates, and 124 surrogate partners.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Responses to a presurrogacy sociodemographic assessment counseling protocol and the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI).
RESULT(S): The surrogates were primarily sisters, sisters-in-law, mothers (48.6%), or other extended family or friends (46.3%) of the intended parents. Most participants resided in residential postcode areas within the highest socioeconomic status quintile; however, intended mothers were more likely than surrogates to live in the most advantaged residential areas, to be younger and be more educated, and to be employed in professional occupations. Most participant psychological profiles were normal. A statistically significantly elevated PAI Somatic Complaints-Health Concerns subscale for intended mothers was observed compared with other participant groups. The higher PAI Warmth scale scores of intended mothers and surrogates were statistically significantly different from their respective partners, although not different from each other.
CONCLUSION(S): Sociodemographic and some psychological differences between participant groups were observed that warrant exploration in pretreatment surrogacy counseling. Importantly, the higher scores on the PAI Warmth scale exhibited by intended mothers and surrogates in the context of close family and friendship relationships are likely to serve as protective mechanisms for the altruistic surrogacy outcome.