What you need to know about Surrogacy in Canada
What is a surrogate? A surrogate is someone who carries your child in her womb and gives birth for you. Most people who are considering surrogacy probably already know this but did you know there are actually two types of surrogates? There are gestational carriers and traditional surrogates. A gestational carrier is not the genetic mother. A traditional surrogate is also the biological mother of the child she will carry.
The following information is typical of what couples considering surrogacy want to know:
Is surrogacy legal in Canada? The answer is yes – sort of. While you are allowed to have someone do this for you in Canada, you cannot pay this person for their generous service. You are however allowed to pay your surrogate for “reasonable” expenses they may have incurred while performing this service. Now what qualifies as a reasonable expense has yet to be defined by the Canadian law makers. If you need more specific details about what is and what is not legal, you should consult a lawyer who has experience dealing with surrogacy matters.
Do we need a contract if the surrogate is a relative or a close friend? Yes. Remember a contract lists the intentions, rights, obligations and general understanding of everyone involved in the relationship you are about to enter. The very process of drawing up a contract forces everyone to think about their roles in this relationship. Of course everyone is on good terms in the beginning but it is a long journey and it is better to hash out the details before the inevitable emotional ups and downs affect everyone and preferably before any medical processes have occurred.
Where do couples find surrogates? Some couples are lucky enough to have relatives who want to help them start their families. Other couples and surrogates have found each other on websites like Craigslist or they have heard about each other on surrogate blog sites. Still others have been connected using consultant agencies. Regardless of which method you use to help in your search for a surrogate you need to really get to know this third party who will be so personally involved in your lives for the next year or longer.
Where do couples find a clinic or physician that will handle a surrogate relationship? There are a number of clinics and physicians that handle surrogacy relationships. Search the internet for phrases such as “fertility clinic (insert city)”, “infertility clinic (insert city) or ask your obstetrician/gynecologist (OBGYN). There are fewer clinics and physicians outside of the major cities who will handle a surrogacy relationship so you may have to expand your geographic search in these cases. Surrogacy in Canada is available and legal. Make sure you get the information you need to determine whether surrogacy is an option for you.
Nancy Lam is a Toronto based IVF and surrogacy lawyer. Her office provides confidential legal advice about the law that governs donor IVF and surrogacy relationships in Canada. Find out what your legal rights and obligations are before you start your family.