By Amalia Bayonas MP, PhD (psychologist).
Last Update: 07/03/2014

A very often asked question by potential parents who undergo an ovodonation treatment is if the mental health of the donor has been previously checked.

Many patients are not satisfied with such demand because they do not really know what good psycho-physical health stands for. In order to dispel those doubts, the Focus Group in Psychology of the Spanish Fertility Society has determined the main areas to explore in each donor, therefore establishing their adequacy to the process, and eventually providing a set of general recommendations. The analyzed aspects are mentioned hereafter.

The different sections of this article have been assembled into the following table of contents.

Current situation

  • Current emotional state tracing more than 40 possible symptoms of anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and bipolarity.
  • Degree of stability according to job, resources, residency, affective and intimate relations, family and social support networks, etc.

Psychiatric history

  • Incidence of disorders such as anxiety, depression, neurosis, obsessive-compulsive disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia…
  • If the donor is currently taking or has taken psychiatric medication (anxiolytics, antidepressants, sleep pills…).
  • Eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia.
  • Suicide attempts.
  • Drug addictions.

Family history

  • Previous cases of diseases such as Down Syndrome, mental retardation, epilepsy, autism, hyperactivity, early-stage Alzheimer…
  • History of suicide, drug abuse, alcoholism…
  • History of psychological o psychiatric disorders.
  • If they have been treated or hospitalized by mental health reasons.

Psychological history

  • If the donor has overcome life crisis and how the donor faced these moments; if the donor has achieved or is in his or her way to achieve his or her goals, or else, why the donor has not done so. To check if the donor is or has been a stable individual and comes from a structured family.
  • Study of personality: positive or negative approach to life, decision-making, self-esteem, self-confidence…

Lifestyle

  • Diet: if it is balanced, complete, and healthy. The weight is measured to assess if the donor has a healthy weight according to his or her body composition.
  • Sleeping patterns: if it is regular, appropriate or if there is any disorder (insomnia, night terrors or nightmares, wakefulness…)
  • Drug abuse: alcohol, tobacco, drugs, etc.
  • Leisure: hobbies, sports, social life…
  • Safe sex practices.

Willingness to become a donor

  • What drove that person to be a donor.
  • What would be the position of the donor with regard to what he or she is donating and with the potential newborn as a result of the donation.
  • If the decision has been notified to his relatives and closest friends, and what do they think about it.

Additionally, it should be checked if the donors are adopted. If so, the familiar tracing could not be performed, therefore excluding the potential donor from the process. The donor is asked as well if he or she has been previously a donor. Moreover, donors must certify the veracity of all the information they have conveyed, being duly informed of the legal consequences of providing untruthful data.

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Authors and contributors

 Amalia Bayonas
MP, PhD
Psychologist
Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from the University of Miami, Florida, with over 20 years experience in the treatment of psychological aspects associated with assisted reproduction patients. Organization of workshops and talks addressed to both infertile patients and professionals. Several research projects and campaigns for the prevention and emotional well-being. Head of Psychology Unit at clinic FIV Valencia (Spain). More information
License: PV 3734
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