Surrogacy is an assisted reproductive method in which a woman carries a child for an individual or couple, with the clear intention of giving the child to the intended parents upon the child’s birth. Under the Canadian Assisted Human Reproduction Act, a surrogate mother in Canada means a woman who – with the intention of surrendering the child at birth to a donor or another person- carries an embryo or a fetus, conceived through an assisted reproduction procedure, and derived from the genes of a donor or donors. Surrogate mothers, also known as gestational carriers, have no genetic link to the baby in general.
Contrary to popular believe, these processes are complex and challenging, they involve an array of medical procedures, psychological evaluations, emotional stress and ethical decisions. In order to fully understand if this is the best way for you to start your family, you should understand the process thoroughly and consciously.
Traditional or Gestational?
We can differentiate between two types of surrogacy: traditional and gestational surrogacy.
In traditional surrogacy, a surrogate is inseminated with the sperm of either the intended father or a sperm donor, resulting in pregnancy. The surrogate is not only carrying the baby, but she also provides the egg and there is a genetic link between the child and the surrogate, as well as between the child and father or sperm donor. Although traditional surrogacy still exists in Canada, it is becoming less common due to the ethical dilemmas and the controversy. The majority of Canadian Fertility Doctors or Canadian Fertility Clinics are not willing to inseminate a surrogate if they are aware of her intentions to give up the child due to the complicated nature of the relationship between surrogate and baby, parental rights, etc.
However, some intended parents consider traditional surrogacy because of the lower costs disregarding the remarkable legal risks it involves.
The second type is commonly known as gestational surrogacy, in this case the surrogate is not genetically linked to the baby she is carrying. The embryo implanted will be the result of IVF treatment that can either us the intended mother’s egg and the intended father’s sperm or donor gametes in the case of single parents or same sex couples. This means the baby is thereby genetically related to the intended mother or the woman who donated the eggs and the intended father or sperm donor, but not the gestational carrier.
Canadian surrogacy processes are mainly gestational agreements and not traditional ones. Gestational surrogacy is both emotionally and legally less complicated, whereas traditional surrogacy arrangements are usually complex to uphold in court.
Starting a family is a landmark in most people’s life; sadly, for different reasons, many people are unable to make this dream a reality. Surrogacy is a valid alternative for these people.
Either if it is because of recurrent pregnancy loss, infertility, dangerous health conditions that make pregnancy or birth dangerous to the mother or baby, cancer, obstetric problems or malformations, repeated failed fertility treatments and IVF implantation, same sex couples surrogacy in Canada can be an interesting alternative to family building process. You can find more information in the following post: Surrogacy in Canada.