Surrogacy Intended Parent Information

Intended Parents - FAQ

Below are frequently asked questions regarding surrogacy in Canada. (Click on question to expand answer). If you have a question, feel free to contact us.

What is our first step with this process?

Determine if surrogacy or egg donation is right for you, educate yourself, and seriously consider all issues prior to making a decision to go ahead with a surrogacy arrangement.

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.

Will our names be put on the birth certificate?

Yes! (Although this process can vary from one province to another).

When and how do we get custody of our child?

The process of becoming a child’s legal parent following surrogacy varies according to provincial legislation. In Ontario for example, intended parents will seek a declaration of parentage and permission to have their name appear on their child’s birth registration. This process involves the assistance of your fertility lawyer which will include the consent of all parties, sworn affidavits, a DNA report and reference to your surrogacy agreement. (UPDATE: Ontario no longer requires a declaration of parentage... birth registrations can be done online on the Service Ontario website). It's best to consult with a fertility lawyer regarding the necessary steps to obtain your child's birth certificate (and passport for international intended parents).

Do surrogate mothers/egg donors get paid a fee?

In Canada, surrogate mothers and egg donors can be reimbursed for their out-of-pocket expenses only (they cannot receive a “fee” or “compensation”). Surrogacy/pregnancy related expenses are allowed as acting as a surrogate mother can accumulate substantial expenses and place a financial burden on a surrogate mother's own family.

Can we give our surrogate mother/egg donor a gift?

Many intended parents wish to give small tokens of appreciation to their surrogate mother. While it’s illegal to give a fee/payment to a surrogate mother without a receipt/expense, personal gifts such as flowers, baked goods, restaurant gift cards, etc. are common practice and considered acceptable.

What is considered "out-of-pocket expenses"?

Out-of-pocket expenses typically include clothing, food, prenatal vitamins, childcare, travel costs (mileage/parking/tolls/accommodations), lost wages, medications, medical bills, etc. More information can be found on this page.

Is finding a surrogate mother/egg donor over the internet safe?

It can be, but not always. Be prepared that many of the women you contact online will have the best intentions of helping you, but may not be fully committed or accountable to this process... or will meet the clinic requirements. Also, you may come across individuals that have been rejected by our surrogacy program for not meeting our screening requirements. Be sure to check that she meets all the basic requirements we have listed on our website here.

When you search for a surrogate mother via surrogacy internet classifieds it's best to post your own ad describing a little about yourselves, your situation and what you are looking for in your surrogate mother (such as location). You can also reply directly to ads already posted, but it's more successful to place your own and let surrogate mothers contact you (since most will not make an ad for themselves as they match so quickly). You will most likely start talking to many women, all from different backgrounds, but it may take some time to find the one that you feel is "right".

Once a connection is made (through pictures and information shared), most intended parents and surrogates begin talking on the phone and then meet in person. Do not send any money to potential surrogate mothers without verifying her information, either through references, identification and/or copies of medical information. If you do send money to pay for mileage, prescriptions, doctor's appointments etc, be sure that you have a copy of a receipt or an email outlining the expense.

How many gestational surrogate mothers have changed their mind and wanted to keep the baby?

ZERO! There has never been a gestational surrogacy arrangement contested in a Canadian court by a surrogate mother.

However, there have been 6 cases in Canada where a surrogate mother was abandoned by her intended parents during the pregnancy and left with the baby/babies. All cases were traditional surrogacy arrangements. (Read about one case here.)

Where does the surrogate mother give birth?

Surrogate mothers give birth at their local hospital, birthing centre or may have a home birth. It is recommended a surrogate mother stays close to her family for support during pregnancy/birth/postpartum and she has free choice in having either an obstetrician or midwife (if pregnancy is low risk). Sometimes a surrogate mother will travel to be close to the intended parents’ location for birth (and they may care for her during this time).

Who takes custody of our child if both of us should die during the pregnancy?

In the event of death, the person you named as guardian of your child in your surrogacy agreement will take custody.

Traditional surrogacy is cheaper then gestational surrogacy, can we just use that type instead?

A traditional surrogate allows herself to be inseminated with the sperm of the intended father or a donor with the intention of giving the child to the intended parent(s) at birth.  Inseminations can take place at home or in a clinic environment.  The child(ren) that are born as a result of traditional surrogacy are genetically related to the surrogate mother.

Although traditional surrogacy exists in Canada, it is considered rare, making up less then 2% of surrogacy arrangements.  There are a limited number of fertility clinics and lawyers that will engage in traditional surrogacy arrangements due to legal risks and moral concerns.  It is also more difficult to find a traditional surrogate to match with as most surrogates prefer to do gestational surrogacy only. 

While the lower costs associated with traditional surrogacy may make it seem like an attractive option to some, it does carry tremendous legal and emotional risk to those who take part in the process. Traditional surrogates have the legal right to retain custody of the children they give birth to (with intended parents running the risk of having to pay child support with or without visitation rights).