In Canada under the Assisted Human Reproduction Act, surrogate mothers cannot be paid a fee or compensated for the act of carrying a baby. This means surrogacy and egg donation in Canada is “altruistic” and not “commercialized”.
However, surrogates can be reimbursed for expenses they incur during this process.
Health Canada has not outlined in detail what is considered an expense and what isn’t; only that it must be related to the surrogacy/pregnancy process. Not all individuals interpret what’s considered a reimbursable expense the same way and you may even find different interpretations among various surrogacy professionals (including doctors and lawyers).
Generally, if a surrogate is financially out of pocket for any reason related to the surrogacy process, it's considered an expense. A surrogate mother (and her family) should not take a financial loss while helping her intended parents to create their family.
The average total reimbursement amount for surrogate mothers in Canada ranges from $18,000-$33,000 (this includes pre-pregnancy, pregnancy and post partum).
There are a lot of variations with expenses as it depends on all parties location, whether or not a surrogate mother claims lost wages (and wage amount), and/or the possibility of pregnancy/birth complications (such as bedrest).
Personal gifts such as flowers, baked goods, fruit baskets or gift certificates are considered acceptable and are common practice.
Surrogate mothers can also receive up to 15 weeks of Employment Insurance (EI) if they meet the requirements. For more information click here.
If you ever have questions about expenses/reimbursements do not hesitate to contact us or your legal counsel.
*Please note that the following information is not an exact list but an example to help guide you to understand what are considered reasonsable surrogacy expenses.
Surrogate Pre-Pregnancy Expenses
*Surrogate mothers must provide receipts and/or an itemized list of expenses before reimbursement.
- Lost Wages
As incurred for appointments including partner/support person to attend/assist. If you cannot personally attend appointments with your surrogate, it’s common practice to offer to cover the cost of a support person.
As incurred for appointments.
- Medications/Syringes/Pregnancy Tests/Vitamins/Medical
IVF cycling medications/syringes, pregnancy tests and vitamins etc. Some bloodwork/ultrasounds may possibly be billed as “third party medical” if the intended parents are international.
- Life Insurance Policy & Will
It is a standard of care to cover the cost of a will and life insurance policy for your surrogate mother in the event of death. This should be put in place BEFORE any attempts to become pregnant as there is risk of death with early pregnancy (or travelling to appointments). A policy of $500,000-$1,000,000 is recommended, please contact us for a referral to an experienced insurance agent that specializes in surrogacy insurance. If you use your own insurance provider, please make sure they do NOT have a surrogacy exclusion.
- Travel/Mileage/Parking Tolls
As incurred for legal/clinic/doctor appointments, picking up medications, including bloodwork, ultrasounds, and the embryo transfer etc. This includes the cost of airfare/bus/train/taxi/subway and hotel accommodations. If a surrogate has to travel more than 2 hours one way for any appointment, it’s customary to offer to put her (and her support person) in overnight accommodations so that she does not risk missing an early appointment due to travelling/traffic.
- Communication - Phone/Internet/Printing/Fax
As incurred for communicating with the IVF clinic/physicians, social worker and lawyer.
Intended parents are responsible for covering the cost of a surrogate mother’s independent legal counsel.
All costs related to organic/specialty diets (such as vegetarian/vegan/religious) if requested by the intended parents.
- Snow Removal/Animal Care
If a surrogate mother is away for appointments/travelling and cannot be home to take care of snow removal and/or pet/farm animals. *Generally reimbursed for single surrogate mothers or those with partners who work away from home for extended periods.