Finding A Donor or Surrogate
Whether it is because of a medical condition or just fate, many couples in Canada need to rely on a third party to have a baby. But where does a couple find a third party whether it’s a surrogate or a donor? Assuming you have no family or friends who can help, you need to find a stranger more or less who will help. Unfortunately there is no provincial or federal government agency that organizes a database to make this search easy. Instead, many couples turn to online ads or they sign up with one of the few Canadian agencies which assist in the fostering of relationships between couples who need help – the Intended Parents, and women willing to help – the donor or surrogate.
Like dating, you need to find out whether you fit well with the other party. Whether it is ova donation or a surrogacy relationship – the couple and the third party need to be in sync to a certain extent. For example a woman who believes that a home birth with a midwife is the only way she can deliver a baby will not fit with a couple who believes that only obstetricians can deliver babies. Similarly a donor who wants to maintain regular monthly contact with any children born from her donation will not fit with a couple who does not even plan to tell the child they were born courtesy of an ova donation. Other items that you may want to agree upon before moving forward are whether the donor or surrogate smokes or live in a smoke free environment, diet and vitamin beliefs. Speaking to your medical, psychological and legal advisors will help you to come up with other items you will want to discuss openly with each other before you commit to a long term relationship to start a family. Ideally, frank discussions with all the parties involved will allow everyone to go through a valuable exercise to ensure that you can all work together toward your goals.
While the supply of donors and surrogates cannot begin to meet the demand, and a couple who finds a woman willing to assist them start their family will likely want to move forward despite glaring differences in their desires, it is important to confirm the fit before starting such a relationship for a whole host of legal, medical and emotional reasons.
Nancy Lam is a surrogacy/IVF lawyer in Toronto, Ontario who has guided her clients through all the legal aspects of surrogacy and egg donor relationships.