Learn more about our team below.
My name is Sally Rhoads-Heinrich, and I am the owner and administrator of Surrogacy in Canada Online. I have tremendous passion for surrogacy as an alternative for infertile couples and it is with high hopes that my site is a valuable resource for information, referral and support for Canadians involved with third party reproduction.
In 2000, I was honoured to be chosen as a gestational surrogate for a Maryland couple and carry and deliver their boy and girl twins, Victoria and Peter. I had a wonderful and rewarding experience and it is a pure joy to see the family I helped create growing and loving life to the fullest.
Since the birth of the twins I have tried to help many other infertile couples by undergoing 8 more I.V.F cycles as a gestational surrogate with unfortunately no success (4 miscarriages including 1 twin ectopic). The women I had tried to help had varying types of infertility ranging from Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome, to heart conditions, diabetes, hypertension, hysterectomy due to cancer/fibroids and unexplained infertility. I have also devoted my time over the last 18 years to not only our surrogacy program but to third party reproduction forums, email listservs and media.
I live in southwestern Ontario with my husband Christoph (Chris) and our four children. Together we operate Surrogacy in Canada Online and Heinrich Farms Ltd. (grain, oilseed & pork production).
In 1999, I graduated with honours as a Mental Health Counsellor from Cambrian College in Sudbury, Ontario (Native Community Care: Counselling & Development Program). I thoroughly enjoy helping both intended parents and surrogate mothers with their questions and concerns.
I feel every intended parent has the right to alternative reproductive options so that they can experience the joys of raising a child, that in most surrogacy arrangements, is genetically related to themselves.
All the best to you in your surrogacy journey!
Egg Donor/Surrogate Support Group Moderator
My name is Karen McAnerin and I've been happily married to my husband, Scott, since September 9th, 2006. We have two incredible children, Myla and Brodyn (Bo), who are extremely active and love sports, especially hockey (they both play on rep hockey teams). I was born and raised in Kingston, Ontario and moved away after graduating high school to pursue my post secondary education. In May 2005 I graduated from the Funeral Services Program at Humber College in Toronto and passed my Ontario Board Exams, officially becoming a Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer in August 2005. I became a stay at home Mom after our daughter was born and feel extremely blessed to have had the opportunity to stay at home with both kids. Now that they're older I volunteer often at their school - on Parent Council, with hot lunches, in the class, on field trips, etc. In the summer of 2017 we moved from our home in Bowmanville to our dream home in Brockville. It's been a big change moving 3+ hours away and away from the GTA, but life here has already been more relaxing and rewarding. We have 30+ chickens and ducks that free range on our 5 acre property and the kids now have their own little egg business - Fluffy Butts Coop.
I am now a retired egg donor, having donated 6 times (completing both anonymous and known donations) and am also a retired gestational surrogate. As a teenager I saw a documentary on surrogacy and I knew if circumstances allowed when I was older that I wanted to help give the gift of life/family to someone - even though at that age I didn’t fully understand what it meant emotionally. When Myla was born in 2007 and I was still in the hospital, I knew that once we were done having our own family (we planned on two), that I wanted to try to give someone else the opportunity of becoming parents. While in the hospital and looking down at our precious new baby girl, the thoughts of wanting and not being able to conceive children were intense and gave me such an indescribably sad feeling. Knowing how lucky we were to have our new beautiful baby, especially after a very intense and scary delivery (an emergency c-section with 52 vertical staples due to a prolapsed cord) it further pushed my desire to want to help others achieve their dreams of parenthood.
Our son Bo was born in 2009, completing our perfect family of four. With the full support of my amazing husband, I embarked on my adventure into the World of Third Party Reproduction as an egg donor. In July 2010 I had my first egg retrieval as an anonymous donor and although having limited details, I was told that the Intended Mother did indeed get pregnant. It was such a gratifying experience that it further enhanced my desire to become a gestational surrogate. Once Bo was out of the "baby" stage, we began looking for our perfect match to embark on a surrogacy journey with. After speaking with a few Intended Parents, we were extremely fortunate to meet an absolutely incredible single father-to-be (who already had frozen embryos) through Surrogacy in Canada Online. Although we met as complete strangers, the friendship and bond that formed quickly became that of family. In May 2012, with both my IF and my husband in the OR with me, I gave birth to a gorgeous baby boy, full term. Sadly it quickly became clear that he was born very sick. There were unforeseen complications with his health (that were not and could not have been diagnosed during pregnancy) and he passed away at just 8 weeks old. The experience changed me in many ways as the idea of loss is not something that I was not prepared for, especially with surrogacy when helping to create life/a family. Despite the devastating outcome of our journey, it was still such an absolutely beautiful experience , one that I'm grateful to have been a part of.
I have always had a very strong passion for helping others and when Sally asked me in August 2012 to join the SCO team and lend my assistance as her Egg Donor/Surrogate Support Worker, I enthusiastically jumped at the opportunity. I look forward to getting to know you and please don't be afraid to reach out with any questions or concerns you may have about the process.
Surrogate Support Group Moderator
My name is Isabelle LeBlanc. I live in small community north of Moncton, New-Brunswick with my three kids. I currently work in retail full-time and do a little bit of photography part-time.
I've always been a big fan of the TV show "Friends", and in one of the story lines of the show, a character (Phoebe), was a surrogate mother for her brother. That is where the idea of surrogacy came from for me. I never thought I'd actually go through with it, but years later, the idea was still floating in my mind.
In August 2012, I gave birth to my third child. Even though I felt that my family was complete, I wanted to be pregnant again. Surrogacy was calling me and that's when I decided to look further into it and start my research. I wanted to help and give the gift of life to a family.
In February 2013, I "matched" with an incredible couple from Nova Scotia through Sally's website. We went through many ups and downs during our journey. We had one failed transfer, two cancelled cycles and finally, one successful transfer. In April 2015, I gave birth to their beautiful baby boy and I cannot be more proud of myself.
During those two years, I learned a lot about the surrogacy world and I'm more than happy to stay connected to it by being a part of Sally's team. I'm looking forward to help you!
Surrogate Support Group Moderator/Doula
My name is Sherri-Lyn Cranston and I have had a passion for pregnancy and birth that started when I was young. As a child, I would put big water balloons in my bathing suit and daydream of my future pregnancies. I voiced at a very young age that I wanted to help people through pregnancy and birth, aspiring to be an obstetrician when I grew up. I have shifted my focus to midwifery, and I am still pursuing that dream. That passion led me to train as a Revolutionary Doula, and dedicate myself to assisting families of all shapes and sizes through their pregnancies and birth with compassion and respect, no matter where they are coming from or what direction they are hoping to go.
After carrying and birthing my own two children, I felt my family was complete, but my love for pregnancy called me to become pregnant again as a surrogate mother; to carry a child for another family. My knowledge and passion for surrogacy and third party assisted reproduction carries into my birthwork, as I support families and individuals through these niche and multi-layered circumstances. I know that surrogates often need an understanding support person to help navigate through more complicated procedures and protocols, and the emotions that come along with them. Many surrogates need extra support as they give so much of themselves to make others’ dreams of a family come true.
I am a talented artist specializing in pregnancy and birth, using media such as belly casts, henna belly and body art, placenta art, and birth photography. Intimately woven into the birth story, every piece I produce is a unique tribute to the incredible experience of pregnancy and childbirth
Shirley Eve Levitan
Shirley has been practicing family law since 1991, and fertility law since 1996. Shirley’s office is located in Toronto, Canada, but in the context of fertility law, she assists people all over the world. Shirley has worked with clinics, hospitals, intended parents, egg/sperm donors and gestational carriers for over twenty years. She has worked with all manner of reproductive technology arrangements, and diligently ensures the required agreements conform with the changing legal landscape in Canada.
Shirley is also a leading Canadian lawyer with respect to preparing and attending to court and government applications dealing with cross border, national and international, birth registration issues that arise in the context of assisted reproductive technology. Shirley is the first lawyer in Ontario to have obtained a parentage declaration in a surrogacy situation in which the intended parents had no genetic connection to the child. She has been invited to speak at conferences and seminars in both Canada and the US, including the Ontario Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the National Judges Institute (Ontario), the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, the University of Toronto, Osgoode Hall Law School, the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, the Law Society of Upper Canada, and the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys, of which she is an elected Fellow.
Shirley is currently on the Executive of the Law Special Interest Group of the CFAS (Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society). Shirley is one of the few lawyers in Canada who has extensive experience in both family law and fertility law, and as a result, has a unique understanding of how these two worlds intersect.
Sara R. Cohen, LL.B.
Sara R. Cohen, LL.B. is a fertility law lawyer based in Toronto, with clients throughout Canada and beyond. Sara is the founder of Fertility Law Canada at D2Law LLP where her entire practice is devoted exclusively to the practice of fertility law, and is the most well-known fertility lawyer in Canada. She regularly acts for intended parents, surrogates, donors, cryobanks, hospitals, distributors and fertility clinics on a wide range of fertility law issues.
Prior to her career as a fertility lawyer, Sara practiced commercial litigation and public law (including constitutional law issues) at Canada’s then largest firm.
Sara has recently been named by Canadian Lawyer Magazine as one of the Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers in Canada. She is the co-chair of the Ethics and Law Special Interest Group of Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society, a director of Fertility Matters Canada, and an adjunct professor of reproductive law at Osgoode Hall Law School. Sara co-chaired Canada’s first national symposium on fertility law in Canada, is one of two international members of the executive council of the Assisted Reproductive Technology Committee of the ABA’s Family Law Section, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys (AAARTA). Sara has given expert testimony on third party reproduction and legal parentage issues at Queen’s Park for the Standing Committee on Social Policy.
Sara has been published on issues relating to reproductive law in the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, Huffington Post, and Lawyers Weekly and a frequent contributor to The Globe and Mail on fertility law issues. She is an in-demand speaker, having lectured at Suffolk University Law School, University of Toronto, Osgoode Hall Law School, McMaster University, AAARTA, Canadian Bar Association, Ontario Bar Association, Law Society of Upper Canada, American Bar Association, National Family Law Program, CLEBC, and Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society. She is the winner of the 2013 Precedent Setter Award and a Clawbie Award for her blog about fertility law in Canada.
Sara R. Cohen
Dara Roth Edney
Reproductive Counsellor, MSW, RSW
My name is Dara and I’m a Reproductive Counsellor and the founder of Informed Fertility, a counselling and information service that offers in-person as well as video support in the area of family building. I work with individuals and couples experiencing primary or secondary infertility, as well as those seeking assisted fertility options due to sexual orientation, gender identity and/or relationship status.
While I have been a practicing social worker in Toronto, Canada since 2000, my passion for this work came out of my own personal experiences with infertility. After many years of tests, surgeries, unsuccessful IUIs and IVFs, my partner and I turned to gestational surrogacy ourselves. Today, we are the parents of two daughters, each carried by a different and incredible Gestational Surrogate, and I have the privilege of supporting people all over the world as they build their families - and in facilitating the dreams of women and men who generously offer their help as surrogates and donors so others can have the family of their dreams.
In my daily practice, I provide support in dealing with the profound emotions of infertility and loss (including grief and marriage counselling) and provide the assessments required by clinics for Intended Parents, donors and surrogates in advance of their treatment cycles. I offer empathetic and pragmatic decision-making guidance around next steps, and help in developing individualized and effective coping strategies. I am dedicated to evidence-based practice that is inclusive, personalized and helpful.
In addition to my counselling practice, I work closely with professional and community organizations and am a regularly invited speaker at conferences and workshops. I have also been actively involved in government consultations and in industry research that aims to improve care for all fertility patients – Intended Parents, Donors and Surrogates alike.
I have a Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW) from the University of Toronto and Bachelors’ Degrees from York (BSW) and McGill Universities (BA). I am a Registered Social Worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers (RSW) - so if you have benefits, my services may be covered through your workplace insurance! I am also a member of the Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW) and a professional member of Fertility Matters, a patient support and advocacy group. I am a member of the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS) and the Canadian Counselling Special Interest Group (CCSIG) of the CFAS, as well as the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM).
I feel deeply grateful and fortunate that my professional training, personal experience with infertility and my family’s journey through surrogacy (twice!) combine to provide a unique and empathetic perspective for my clients. I work closely with clinics and affiliated professionals across North America, as well as with patients worldwide, and am committed to providing services that are compassionate, empathetic, inclusive and non-judgmental, as well as personalized and helpful.
If you have any questions, please send me an email. I look forward to walking with you through this journey and offering support in any and all ways that I can.
Dara Roth Edney
Clinical Social Worker, MSW, RSW
Amira and her husband experienced secondary infertility. After several failed in uterine inseminations, Amira conceived her twins through IVF. It was her own personal experience with infertility that was the catalyst for healinginfertility.ca.
Fertility isn’t just about medical intervention. Her journey has taught her about the power of the mind body connection and using our body’s intelligence to stimulate and nurture fertility. There’s no magic to it. Through imagery, visualization, breathing exercises and mindfulness work, we can reverse the harmful effects of stress on the body.
Amira Posner is a Clinical Social Worker with a private practice in Toronto, Ontario. Amira has both a Bachelor and Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Manitoba. She works with individuals and couples who are struggling with infertility. Amira developed and now facilitates the Mind-Body Fertility Group and Fab Fertile Mindfulness Fertility Series.
In addition to working with individuals, couples and families providing therapy in a secure and safe setting, Amira is a member of the Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW) and Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW). Amira is a certified Hypnotherapist and Reiki practitioner. Amira is also the mother of three miracles. She supports couples worldwide.
Surrogate Support Worker
My name is Leah Liederman, and I began my journey with Surrogacy in Canada in 2018. I constantly tell people that becoming a surrogate was one of the greatest things of my life and I feel blessed to have successfully made a family and continue to help others start, or extend theirs.
In 2018, I was blessed and chosen by a local Toronto couple, Danny and Matt, to be their gestational surrogate and carry their beautiful baby girl, Lily. I had an incredible relationship with these boys from the start and the amazing relationship continues to this day with them and their now two daughters. My own daughters have an amazing relationship as well and it has been incredible to see them become mini advocates of the LGTBQ community. I love seeing the amazing dads that these boys are to Lily and her baby sister Lucy. Everyone deserves and has the right to make a family if they want one.
Since the birth of Lily, I attempted a second journey with another local couple and sadly, after a later miscarriage and failed transfers, we chose to end our journey together. I am now in the process of cycling with another couple, this time International, in Israel and if all goes well, hope to have a baby for them within the year. As I just reached 40 and have had many challenges medically with these recent journeys, this will be my last IVF cycle and I will be retiring from surrogacy after I have had this one last try. My personal journey will be over, but through this vast array of life experiences, (infertility at the start of my marriage, miscarriages in between my own children, matching with 3 different IPs, going through a divorce in the middle of my second journey, miscarriage as a surrogate and successfully carrying a surro-babe and hopefully a second) I have a lot of knowledge and advice to give to surrogates and IPs as well.
I recently offered Sally my services as an advice-giver, a person to be by your side during a Toronto transfer if you have no one, a Toronto host (if you don’t want to be alone before or after a transfer) and just someone to be here for you in Toronto if you need, or want it.
I live in North York, close to the busses and subway system and am a teacher with flexible hours if need be. In the summer, I am off and have much more flexibility. I am a proud mom of two girls, Miriam and Breana and two cats (Simba and Bella) and would love to help any of you in your journeys with Surrogacy in Canada.
In 2005, I graduated Teacher’s College at York University and love teaching Kindergarten in the York Region District School Board. One of the highlights of my career was teaching my kinder class about what surrogacy was and why I was helping a family in need. The children’s book: “The Kangaroo Pouch” that was given to me by Sally, is a teaching tool I use to this day!
In my heart I deeply feel that every person has the right to be a parent. My children are the greatest joys of my life and I want others to experience the same joy.
My name is Jaclyn Swinkels, I'm the current webmaster for Surrogacy in Canada Online. I've been working with Sally for over 10 years. My role includes maintaining the current site and also working with Sally on updating/adding to various resources on the site.
I remember the day I started working on the Surrogacy in Canada Online website. I was unfamiliar with the world of surrogacy but very interested in learning more. In 2018 my husband and I welcomed our first daughter and in 2021 we welcomed boy/girl twins. The birth of our children has given me a different perspective on parenthood and more empathy towards couples faced with infertility.
I really enjoy working with Sally and am excited for what the future brings as far as further developing different features of the site so it continues to be a go-to resource for those interested in surrogacy.