Intended Parents Checklist
Determine if surrogacy is right for you.
For Intended Parents contemplating surrogacy, seriously consider all issues prior to making a decision to go ahead with a surrogacy arrangement. Surrogacy can be expensive. It is important to know the estimated cost and be financially prepared for the entire process. As well, check to see if you meet Intended Parent Qualifications. **We recommend that intended parents have registered with an IVF clinic and preferably, have frozen embryos before beginning their search for a surrogate mother. Please see our Egg/Embryo Donation Provider Page if you are in need of assistance with eggs or embryos.
Before pursuing a surrogacy arrangement educate yourself with as much information as you can. There are many resources online and it can be helpful to speak with others that have already experienced surrogacy.
Contact your IVF clinic for information on their surrogacy services.
Not all IVF clinics in Canada will provide services to assist you with a surrogacy arrangement. If they do offer services, they may have different requirements in regards to the surrogate's reproductive history, age or weight. It's important to find out early on before beginning your search for a surrogate mother what services your clinic provides and requirements they may have.
Meeting & Matching
To help you find an ideal match, the first step is to create a profile about yourself (and partner). Describe yourselves, how you met, your struggles to start your family and any preferences you have with your potential surrogate mother. Once your profile is listed on our website (under the members section) you will be on our mailing list to receive full profiles of available surrogate mothers. If you are interested in a surrogate mother you've received a profile for, you can initiate contact by emailing her directly and introducing yourselves. Many intended parents will make arrangements to call, meet or facetime/skype with a potential surrogate to get to know each other further. If you think you've found the right surrogate, then you will need to propose to her by asking her to "be your surrogate”! If she says "yes", it's a match! *At this time, you can also request a criminal background check from your surrogate mother (be sure to offer to cover the expense). If you ask for a criminal background check, it's customary to offer to provide one on yourselves to her as well).
Once you have matched, the first step is to travel to the IVF clinic for medical and psychological screening. If you are unable to accompany your surrogate mother, it’s common practice to cover the cost of a support person (partner/friend/SCO member) to accompany her.
Educate yourself on the legal status of surrogacy in your province, state or country. Not being aware of current laws and taking shortcuts could result in jeopardizing your parental rights. One of the best way to make sure you are properly adhering to the laws and (often changing) regulations, is to hire a lawyer that specializes in third party reproduction. After passing medical and psychological screening, we refer both parties to separate legal representation to begin contracts. Once contracts are finalized and signed, you and your surrogate mother will move into the medical phase of the journey to get pregnant. We strongly recommend purchasing a life insurance policy (and will) to protect yourselves, your surrogate mother and her family during this process. Life insurance for your surrogate should be in place before any attempts to become pregnant. Without life insurance, intended parents are at great risk of lawsuit(s) by the family of the surrogate mother, especially if her death is a result of the surrogacy process (travelling to appointments, miscarriage/birth complications etc.) (Please see our Canadian Insurance Agent Page).
Cycling & Getting Pregnant
For gestational surrogacy, the IVF clinic will instruct your surrogate with taking hormonal medication to prepare her body to accept your embryo(s). This medication may include oral and daily injections for up to 13 weeks (cycling protocol varies among clinics). Your surrogate will travel to your IVF clinic for ultrasounds (to check the uterine lining) and the embryo transfer procedure. For traditional surrogacy your surrogate may either undergo the IVF process to create embryos or do home inseminations. (Traditional surrogacy makes up less than 2% of surrogacy arrangements).
Expenses & Reimbursement
Canadian surrogacy legislation allows for intended parents to reimburse surrogate mothers for all reasonable expenses related to the process. Only reimburse or transfer funds to your surrogate mother with a receipt or documentation of anticipated expenses. Typical expenses include mileage, travel (accommodations/flights), lost wages, meals, maternity clothes, and childcare. If possible, all expenses should be reimbursed in advance or within 24 hours of being incurred. (Please see our Expenses & Reimbursement Page).
Your surrogate will see her own doctor/obstetrician/midwife during pregnancy and many intended parents will accompany her at these appointments. Some intended parents choose to do gender reveal parties, maternity photos or baby showers with their surrogate. Enjoy your pregnancy together!
Birth & Post Partum!
Surrogate mothers can choose to give birth in a hospital, clinic/centre or homebirth. You and your surrogate may want to enlist the aid of a doula and/or birth photographer at this time. Get ready to meet your baby!
For Births in Ontario, you can register for your baby's birth certificate through Service Ontario here.