SCO - FAQ
Is SCO a registered business?Yes, SCO is a registered business classified as information, referral and support.
How long has SCO been in business?SCO was non-profit from 2001-2010. In 2010, due to increasing demands, our program became a registered business with our first official clients/births in 2011.
Is SCO a surrogacy agency?No, we are not an agency. SCO is run by surrogacy consultant Sally Rhoads-Heinrich and her team of support workers. Our program is dedicated to assisting all those involved with third party reproduction in Canada. Under Canadian Law, commercialized surrogacy agencies are illegal as you cannot pay an individual to "arrange the services of a surrogate mother". In Canada we have professional surrogacy consultants who run programs that can provide you with information, referrals, support and introductions to surrogate mothers.
Where is SCO located?We are a rural home office located in the municipality of Central Huron near Londesborough, in southwestern Ontario.
What services do you provide?We provide information, referral and support to individuals involved with third party reproduction in Canada. Our program is passionate about helping families conceive children that they are unable to conceive on their own due to a wide variety of reasons. We emphasize the importance of confidentiality, sensitivity, good communication, ethics and support during the surrogacy process. All of our members are cared for with kindness and compassion. Additional information on our services can be found here.
How much does it cost for an initial consult?Our consults are free of charge.
Do you assist with egg or embryo donation?We do not have an egg or embryo donor program. Please see our Egg/Embryo Donation Provider Page if you are in need of assistance with eggs or embryos.
Do we have to have a consult before joining?We recommend you do. We like to speak with every intended parent early in the decision making process to determine if surrogacy is the best option for you.
How many surrogacy consultants (or agencies) are there in Canada?There are currently 26 surrogacy consultants/agencies in Canada.
Which consultant or agency should I pick?We recommend researching all surrogacy consultants in Canada and deciding which one works best for you. Due to the number of consultants/agencies that "pop up" and disappear, we recommend choosing one that has been in business for at least 10 years. SCO is Canada's most highly respected surrogacy program as we are fully transparent to our members and follow the highest standard of ethics.
Do we need a referral from our family doctor to get started with a fertility clinic?You have the option to have your doctor (or SCO) send in a referral or you can refer yourself.
Are you exclusive with certain IVF clinics?No, we are not exclusive (nor will we pressure you to be) with any particular IVF clinic in Canada. There are IVF clinics we highly recommend due to their positive reviews and success rates. Intended Parents come to us from across Canada (and internationally) and often have their own IVF clinic. You may stay with your clinic as long as they can assist with a surrogacy arrangement (otherwise you’ll have to switch to a clinic that does).
How does matching work?We create an online profile page sharing your story and pictures. At the same time we send you full profiles of surrogate mothers that you can contact directly. We do not “pair” or “match-make” for you as matching must happen among the parties involved (similar to dating). Intended parents and surrogate mothers have full choice in who they would like to be matched with.
Surrogate mothers are altruistic in Canada and they are looking to match with intended parents that meet their criteria with ideals, personality and lifestyle. Matching is one of the most important steps in this process… you are going to spend a year together so it’s important that you have a great match!
What should we include in our profile story?To help find an ideal match, it’s best to create a letter or profile about yourself (and partner). Describe yourself, your family and what you are looking for in a surrogacy relationship. We also recommend including a video as your profile page is a surrogate mother's first impression of you!
How many intended parents do not find a match?Unfortunately some intended parents that join our program are not able to connect with surrogates and find a match. It's important that you are open minded during your search and that your criteria (location, age, occupation, diet, etc) for your surrogate is not too restrictive. Roughly 10-20% of intended parents that join our program are not able to find a surrogate mother to help them. (This is often due to issues with creating embryos, strict criteria and/or language barriers. We recommend having frozen embryos in place before you begin searching for a surrogate and that you are fluent in English).
How long does it take to match with a surrogate mother?The majority of intended parents who join our program will typically find a match within 1-18 months. However, the length of time it takes for you to match depends on your surrogate requirements and how you are connecting with them. Please be aware matching with a surrogate in Canada can be challenging and not all intended parents are chosen by a surrogate. Surrogate enrollment has been declining significantly due to the current cost of living and Canada's ban on compensation/payment of fees. (Updated May 16, 2023)
What is your pregnancy success rate?60-75% of intended parents in our program that have an embryo transfer with their surrogate become pregnant.
Can we have twins?Yes, some of our intended parents have twins. It’s usually not encouraged to transfer more than 1 or 2 embryos at a time unless embryo quality is poor or there are other factors. A twin pregnancy is more difficult than a singleton pregnancy for a surrogate mother and the chances of complications are also higher (such as prematurity). It's important for all parties to understand the additional risks a multiple pregnancy before attempting a double embryo transfer. As well, all parties should discuss the possibility of a multiple pregnancy with a single embryo transfer as sometimes an embryo can split (we have had one embryo transfers in our program result in twins and triplets).
If we already have a surrogate mother can we still use your services?Yes! We’d be happy to provide our support services to you and your surrogate mother and assist with your surrogacy arrangement.
What are the costs associated with surrogacy?Please visit our “Cost of Surrogacy” page for more information. There are a lot of variables with surrogacy which can affect the total cost. If you have embryos frozen already, we recommend you have at least $60,000 budgeted to do gestational surrogacy in Canada. If you have do not have embryos ready, we recommend you have at least $80,000 budgeted to do gestational surrogacy in Canada. (Costs are higher for egg donation and international intended parents).
Do you help international intended parents?Yes!
Do you help same sex intended parents?Yes!
Do you help single intended parents?Yes!
How does our surrogate mother receive her reimbursements? Do you have escrow services?We do not manage your funds for this process. Why? Surrogacy consultants/programs are unlicenced and unregulated in Canada. It is not recommend that you have any surrogacy third party manage your funds to pay your clinic, legal counsel or other professionals… including your surrogate mother’s expenses. We also believe it is risky in Canada for intended parents to put their funds with any person or company … as there is always risk of fraud, bankruptcy, or mismanagement etc.
Intended parents in our program pay their clinic, lawyer, social worker and other parties involved directly. You know first-hand what your expenses are without a third party charging you to manage it for you. Your surrogate mother will send you her expenses for reimbursement directly. Reimbursements are typically paid for via cheque, paypal or email money transfer.
From time to time we have assisted international clients by paying various professionals (and their surrogate mother) on their behalf due to the difficulties involved with sending funds to Canada. You can contact us for additional information.
Our program fee is the lowest in Canada due to intended parents paying for their services (and surrogate expenses) directly.
What kind of support do you provide before, during and after the surrogacy process?The process of surrogacy is emotionally challenging. Because of our experience we know the feelings intended parents have and provide support in a professional and caring way. We have support groups so that you can talk to other intended parents and you can also contact us anytime via email/telephone.
What are the advantages of working with a surrogacy consultant/program?Working with a surrogacy consultant can be beneficial to guiding you through your surrogacy journey. An independent approach can add to legal risk and anxiety to an already complex process. An experienced consultant can help you find the right surrogate mother, arrange proper legal representation and provide support from beginning to end.
How do you find prospective surrogate mothers?Surrogate mothers typically come to us after researching surrogacy online or by word of mouth. We also have many repeat surrogates (women who choose to do more than one surrogacy arrangement). We also work with advertising companies to spread the word of surrogacy and participate in various trade shows, conventions and other venues to increase awareness. Membership fees help us to bring awareness to the need intended parents have to build their families.
Are the surrogate mothers in your program screened?We pre-screen surrogate mothers that join our program which means they must meet the general acceptance criteria of the IVF clinic as well as our own. Medical and psychological screening is done by your IVF clinic. Our surrogate mothers complete a very detailed profile which includes their views to various aspects of surrogacy. We pre-screen our surrogate mothers and deny acceptance to candidates that do not meet our physical, emotional and psychological wellness qualifications. We mainly invest our resources and time on intake of acceptable surrogate candidates.
What is your surrogate mother rejection rate?We reject 50% of surrogate mother applicants because they do not meet the basic screening requirements. The majority of surrogates that are immediately rejected are under the age of 21, have not experienced pregnancy, smoke or take prescription medication that is not suitable during pregnancy.
How often do surrogate mother's quit?Less than 5% of surrogate mothers quit after matching with intended parents. Usually this happens within a week of matching (no cost has been incurred to intended parents at this point). Sometimes when the realities of what's coming up start happening, surrogate mothers can have a change of heart (injections, travel, bloodwork, lack of compensation, support changes etc.) This is why it can be difficult to match with an altruistic surrogate. The likelihood of your surrogate mother quitting also increases after a failed transfer or miscarriage.
Have the surrogate mothers registered in your program had a criminal background check?We do not require criminal background checks but do recommend that all parties submit one to each other during the matching stage. Intended parents should provide one to their surrogate mother as well… as a sign of good faith.
Have you ever had a surrogate mother fail her medical/psychological screening?Yes, but it is not common. Most common reason to fail medical screening is due to an undiagnosed medical issue such as cancer/high blood pressure etc.
Is there health and/or life insurance available for our surrogate mother?Surrogate mothers in Canada are covered medically under their provincial health plans for pregnancy/birth.
Life insurance policies are recommended to be put in place prior to your surrogate mother becoming pregnant (we can provide information on insurance providers). However, many intended parents choose to skip purchasing a life insurance policy for their surrogate mother to save on cost. We cannot stress the importance of this step! The majority of our surrogate mothers will have life insurance policies put in place before any attempt at pregnancy is made. This insurance helps to financially protect your surrogate mother's family/children in the event of her death due to travelling during this process or the pregnancy/birth itself. Besides insuring the surrogate mother's family/children, this policy also helps to protect intended parents from the risk of lawsuit by the surrogate mother's family in the event of her death. Some intended parents will also be partial benefactors in the policy so in the event they have lost both their surrogate and child(ren) they have funds to cover funeral costs and/or being able to continue with trying to build their family (additional IVF cycle, treatments, adoption/surrogacy, etc.)
Do you receive any payments, bonuses, or kick-backs for referring us to other programs, providers, services, lawyers or clinics?No.
Has SCO ever been investigated, audited or convicted of illegal activity?No.
Do you have translation services in French or other languages?Yes, we have assisted many international intended parents with different languages and generally have not had issues, even with using an online translation service such as google translate. Many of our surrogate mothers are fluent in French and have matched with French speaking clients. Basic knowledge of English is recommended to pursue surrogacy in Canada successfully.
Why choose SCO?
SCO is dedicated to helping intended parents achieve their dream of having (or expanding) a family. We have experience and expertise with surrogacy case management and are well versed in all aspects of surrogacy and third party reproduction. We provide the support and care that is needed during the surrogacy process. We care about our intended parents, and surrogate mothers and our goal is to help foster positive and independent relationships between intended parents and their surrogate mother.
SCO is one of Canada’s most respected surrogacy programs. Our mission is not to enrich ourselves but to see quality arrangements producing healthy, happy and successful outcomes. We respect all parties wishes and privacy. We are also strive to be fully compliant with the Assisted Human Reproduction Act of Canada and have strong ethics and morals with all aspects of third party reproduction.
Other consultants/programs in Canada may charge outrageous fees for unnecessary services and promote and attract surrogates with prizes, gifts and other enticements. We attract surrogate mothers who are looking to help for the right reasons… to help build a family, give the gift of life and to make a change in someone’s life. Why choose Surrogacy in Canada Online? Click here.