International Intended Parents
*** Please note as of March 16th, 2020 Canada has placed travel restrictions to non-Canadians entering Canada due to Covid-19 (exceptions are made for the birth of your child). Embryos can be shipped into Canada. *** - July 2021 Update - travel into Canada is allowed for medical reasons (IVF) for those fully vaccinated. No isolation is required, must have proof of vaccinations.
We welcome intended parents from all over the world and international intended parents currently make up approximately 50% of our program members. We have been assisting international intended parents with surrogacy in Canada since 2001. We do not charge an "international fee" due to the added costs that international intended parents will incur. Although some surrogate mothers prefer to match with Canadian intended parents only, we do have surrogates open to matching with international intended parents as well.
Surrogacy is an incredible family building option that has helped many couples become parents when they otherwise could not in their own country. Surrogacy is prohibited or restricted in many countries around the world and as a result, international intended parents have turned to Canada for assistance. Canada is widely considered to be the preferable country for surrogacy due to our altruistic surrogacy legislation, high standard of health care and supportive environment for intended parents and surrogates.
There are however, additional challenges international intended parents will face compared to Canadian intended parents. These challenges can include…
Clear communication between you and your surrogate mother is critical for the success of your relationship together. Due to time differences and possible language barriers, it can be more difficult for the intended parents and their surrogate mother to develop and maintain a mutually respectful, caring, long-distance surrogacy relationship. Now with the use of Google Translate, Skype, Facetime, email, phone, and text messaging, all parties can communicate easily despite time and cultural differences. If complete translation services are required this can affect your ability to find a match with a surrogate mother. As you think about working with a surrogate mother carefully consider how much communication you would like to have with her during this process.
Visits To Your Surrogate Mother
Canadian intended parents are generally able to attend some or most of the surrogate mother's doctor appointments during the pregnancy; whereas, international intended parents are less likely to have that same opportunity. If intended parents are unable to participate in their surrogate mother's appointments, our internet-savvy surrogates often gladly update their intended parents after every appointment. They will give you baby measurements, lab results, ultrasound images and any recommendations made by the doctor. Because our surrogates understand that this is your pregnancy too, our surrogates will treat you as the parents from the moment there is a confirmed pregnancy. Of course, if you can attend any of the appointments during the pregnancy, it will immensely deepen your relationship with your surrogate mother and her medical provider. Taking an active interest/role in your surrogate's medical appointments shows your interest in not only your surrogate mother's health, but also in the health and development of your unborn baby. It's important for surrogate mothers to see intended parents showing interest and an active role in their unborn baby's development.
Surrogacy in Canada Online makes every effort to introduce you to surrogate mothers but due to your personal requests or your country's legal requirements (single vs. married surrogate surrogates) matching with a surrogate can sometimes take longer than anticipated. If you are not shipping embryos to Canada, you may be required to attend appointments at an IVF clinic to undergo medical and psychological screening and for your IVF cycle. Once your surrogate mother is pregnant, Surrogacy in Canada Online expects international intended parents to arrive at least 2 weeks before the expected due date so that the intended parents are present when their child is born and can take immediate legal custody and responsibility for the child. Surrogate mothers in Canada typically leave the hospital or birth centre shortly after giving birth, if intended parents are not in attendance for a full term birth (after 38weeks gestation) it's possible their child may be seen as abandoned and become a ward of the province. Of course, babies don't always follow our preferred timeline to enter the world, so parents need to be prepared to arrive within 24 hours of a surprise birth after their surrogate mother is 24 weeks pregnant. Parents are expected to take immediate custody of their children and to make all medical decisions regarding the care of their child. Depending on the province of birth, International parents typically stay in Canada for 3-6weeks before travelling home with their baby.
Children born to international parents will receive Canadian citizenship at birth, and your parental rights within Canada will be established. However, because international parents will take their child out of Canada and back to their home country—a country in which surrogacy may be illegal or at least may be treated very differently than in Canada—international parents will also want to establish parental rights in their own country. It is best to understand the laws that may apply in your own country and what you need to do to protect the child and your rights before you even begin the process. For example, a number of European countries do not recognize the international father’s parentage if the surrogate is married, because they view the surrogate’s husband as the legal father of the child despite any contracts or agreements you have with the surrogate. Surrogacy in Canada Online works closely with Canadian fertility lawyers who can assist international intended parents with legal parentage services. Because laws change frequently, we advise you to seek legal counsel prior to selecting a surrogate.
International intended parents generally make 1-4 trips to Canada. The first trip would be for the IVF clinic consult and medical/psychological screening, second trip for IVF cycling and embryo transfer, third trip to visit with your surrogate half way through the pregnancy and fourth trip for the birth of your child. The number of trips can vary depending on whether IVF cycling happens in Canada or if embryos are shipped in instead and/or how often you choose to visit with your surrogate mother. We do recommend meeting with your surrogate mother during the pregnancy to show your support and involvement. Travel costs can include passports, flights, hotels, meals, car rental, taxi's, and travellers medical insurance etc.
Canadian surrogates are covered for all medical services (including pregnancy and birth) under their provincial health care plans. However, there is a possibility that international intended parents will incur health care costs for their baby after birth. Some hospitals are requiring payment for after birth care which ranges from $400-750/day for a regular stay/newborn care to $5000+/day for NICU/newborn care or if your child requires medical assistance. International intended parents may also be responsible for the costs of their accommodations in the hospital. Medical costs could possibly exceed $50,000-$300,000 if for example a baby (or multiples) have extensive NICU time and/or surgery/procedures/treatments. Unfortunately there isn't currently a national insurance program in place for international intended parents to have assistance with medical costs so it's important to have access to additional financing in case it happens. International intended parents may also want to look into US insurance companies (some provide assistance with Canadian singleton births) or insurance coverage they may have through their employment. Some hospitals are not charging intended parents whereas others are. You can find out if the hospital has this policy to bill international intended parents by contacting them directly or at the pre-admit hospital appointment with your surrogate mother in her third trimester. Most babies born through surrogacy in Canada are born full term and do not require medical care that intended parents will have to pay for.
We would be honoured to be a part of your surrogacy journey. If you are interested in receiving more information about how our surrogacy program can help you become a parent, feel free to contact us. We are here to help you!
Newborn Medical Insurance Options for International Intended Parents (Non-Residents of Canada)
Art Risk Contact Virginia Hart at firstname.lastname@example.org