At first glance, surrogacy in Canada can seem overwhelming, with many complex medical steps and surrogacy regulations. Likely, even before choosing Canada as your destination for your surrogacy journey, one of the first questions that will pop up is, ‘Where?’. You can use Google, Bing, or any other search engine to find available options, but are they all safe for you and your family? Unfortunately, the answer is no!
Several countries have legally recognized surrogacy, including the US, Canada, Greece, Portugal, and the UK. However, there are also many countries where surrogacy laws are evolving, which intended parents should avoid.
Canada stands out as one of the few secure and well-established destinations worldwide to conduct a compassionate surrogacy process with a supportive legal framework in most provinces.
Is Surrogacy in Canada Legal?
Yes, surrogacy is legal in Canada, and it follows an ethical and altruistic model emphasizing compassion over financial gain.
The Assisted Human Reproduction Act (AHRA) is federal legislation that sets out the activities that are permitted and those that are prohibited about surrogacy.
If a woman has had her own children and wishes to carry a child for another family, becoming a surrogate mother in Canada is a legal and viable option. However, compensation or an offer of compensation to a woman acting as a surrogate is not allowed. Intended parents can only reimburse a surrogate for her reasonable out-of-pocket expenses related to the surrogacy process.
Canadian Surrogacy Laws
Canadian surrogacy law is federal, so it is the same in every province and territory—it’s legal to do surrogacy. However, Quebec is the exception, as it doesn’t recognize surrogacy contracts. You can do surrogacy in Quebec, but the courts will not recognize the agreement if there is a dispute among the parties.
Furthermore, there are also differences among the provinces with respect to birth certificates. Most surrogacy arrangements happen in Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia, where intended parents can quickly get birth certificates for their children. This is especially important for international intended parents who must apply for a passport to travel home.
For a smooth journey, it’s recommended to consult with a Canadian fertility lawyer who specializes in surrogacy law. They will guide you through the legal requirements and apply for your child’s birth certificate.
Comparing Surrogacy-Friendly Provinces
Each province in Canada has its advantages and drawbacks, making it essential to weigh the pros and cons carefully.
Ontario: Often seen as one of the best places for surrogacy in Canada, this province stands out for its strong and friendly surrogacy community. Intended parents in Ontario typically experience shorter wait times to find a match due to the larger number of surrogates. Ontario is also known for its efficient process of issuing birth certificates. One potential downside of Ontario is that the cost of living and surrogacy-related expenses can be relatively high.
Alberta: Alberta is another province known for its surrogacy-friendly regulations and clear birth certificate process. However, Alberta may have a smaller pool of available surrogates compared to Ontario. This could lead to longer wait times for prospective parents to find a surrogate.
British Columbia: British Columbia offers a supportive surrogacy community with established agencies, lawyers, and an active community of surrogates. Like Ontario, British Columbia may have a higher cost of living and surrogacy expenses, which can be a potential drawback for some intended parents.
Egg Donation in Canadian Surrogacy
In Canada, egg donation can play a crucial role in the surrogacy process when the intended mother or surrogate cannot provide their own eggs.
Egg donors can be known (friends or family members) or anonymous donors from egg banks. Surrogacy agencies in Canada can help intended parents find a suitable donor based on their preferences.
Egg donation in Canada operates under altruistic principles. Egg donors can be reimbursed for reasonable expenses related to the donation process. These expenses cover medical evaluations, travel costs, and other directly related expenditures.
The costs associated with egg donation in surrogacy can vary but generally include the egg donor’s expenses, medical costs, legal fees, and administrative expenses. Intended parents need to be financially prepared for these costs as part of their surrogacy journey.
What Is the Cost of Surrogacy in Canada?
Intended parents need to have a realistic budget when considering surrogacy. The cost of surrogacy in Canada could cover expenses related to the surrogate, including her legal fees, medical expenses, and other associated costs with the pregnancy. Also, there may be additional expenses for IVF treatments, medical procedures, and travel costs.
Below, you will find a surrogacy cost breakdown:
- The surrogacy agency’s fees come to around 10,000 CAD.
- Lawyer’s fees typically amount to about 20,000 CAD.
- IVF procedures cost approximately 25,000 CAD.
- Surrogate reimbursement totals about 20,000 CAD.
- The egg donation process varies, ranging from 5,000 to 15,000 CAD.
- Other expenses, including travel and accommodations, can be roughly 5,000 to 10,000 CAD.
The recommended budget of 100,000 CAD for a gestational surrogacy arrangement may seem high. Still, it is essential to remember that the cost covers many different services and expenses.
How Long Does It Take to Find a Surrogate in Canada?
The time it takes to find a surrogate in Canada can vary significantly and depends on several factors, including your specific requirements and where you are searching.
In provinces like Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia, where surrogacy is more common, you may find surrogates more quickly compared to other provinces.
Given these variables, the exact timeline is hard to predict. Some prospective parents find a surrogate within a few months, while others may take longer, potentially up to a year or more. It’s essential to be patient and prepared for possible waiting periods during the surrogacy journey.
Pros and Cons of Surrogacy in Canada
Canadian surrogacy offers both advantages and disadvantages. Prospective parents should carefully consider these benefits and drawbacks to make an informed decision aligned with their goals and resources. Here’s a summary of the main pros and cons:
Advantages of pursuing surrogacy in Canada
Legal Recognition: Under the Assisted Human Reproduction Act (AHRA), surrogacy is legal in Canada. The AHRA permits surrogacy, making it a viable option for intended parents.
Altruistic Surrogacy: Surrogates cannot receive a fee for carrying a baby, emphasizing the compassionate nature of surrogacy.
Safe International Option: Clear laws and regulations protect all parties’ interests, making Canada a safe option for international surrogacy.
Inclusive Approach: Regardless of marital status, gender, or sexual orientation, anyone can pursue surrogacy in Canada.
Disadvantages of pursuing surrogacy in Canada
Costs: Surrogacy costs in Canada can be relatively high. Intended parents will cover expenses related to the surrogate, legal fees, medical expenses, and more.
Limited Compensation: Surrogates in Canada can only be reimbursed for surrogacy-related reasonable expenditures. This limitation might discourage some women from becoming surrogates.
Province Variations: While Canadian surrogacy law is federal, there are variations among provinces, especially regarding birth certificates.
The Rights of Intended Parents
In Canada, every person has the right to become a parent via surrogacy regardless of their ethnic origin, religion, age, marital status, gender, or sexual orientation.
International Surrogacy: Is Canada a Safe Option?
Canada is considered a safe option for international surrogacy, as it has clear laws and regulations to protect the interests of all parties involved. Provincial law governs surrogacy in Canada, resulting in slightly different regulations in each province. However, surrogacy agreements are generally legally binding, and intended parents have legal parental rights to the child born via surrogacy.
Additionally, surrogate mothers in Canada are compensated only for their expenses related to the pregnancy. Surrogacy is not seen as a commercial transaction, and surrogates have no financial motive to take undue risks.
Overall, while no process can be guaranteed to be 100% safe, surrogacy in Canada is generally considered a secure option for international intended parents.
What Are the Main Differences between Surrogacy in Canada and the US?
Surrogacy in Canada is altruistic, meaning surrogates cannot receive a fee for carrying a baby. In the US, surrogacy is commercialized, meaning surrogates can receive payments for the baby they carry.
Commercial surrogacy agencies are also prohibited in Canada, so they have surrogacy consultants. Surrogacy consultants can introduce intended parents and surrogate mothers to one another. Still, they cannot “pair” or “match-make” like a US agency can.
Compared to the United States, the cost of a surrogacy journey in Canada is more affordable, not only due to altruism but also due to the public Canadian healthcare system that covers the medical expenses derived from pregnancy. You can read a detailed guide on difference between surrogacy in US and Canada.
How Does Surrogacy Work in Canada?
If you’re interested in pursuing surrogacy in Canada, there are three main things you need to keep in mind:
Find a Reputable Surrogacy Lawyer
Hire a local attorney specializing in these kinds of cases. An experienced Surrogacy attorney will handle the paperwork and legalities related to the surrogacy process quickly.
Below is a list of some surrogacy lawyers across Canada:
- Alberta – Ellen K. Embury – Dunphy Best Blocksom LLP – www.dbblaw.com
- British Columbia – Lindsay Morphy, Barrister & Solicitor – www.vancouverfertilitylaw.ca
- British Columbia – Lawrence A. Kahn, Q.C. – www.kzellaw.com
- Ontario – Lisa Feldstein Law Office – www.familyhealthlaw.ca
- Ontario – Michelle Flowerday – Flowerday Law I Fertility & Family – www.familysurrogacylawyer.com
- Ontario – McKenzie Lake Lawyers – www.mckenzielake.com
Look for Your Surrogacy Soulmate
Here is a list of some surrogacy agencies in Canada:
- Ontario – Surrogacy in Canada Online – www.surrogacy.ca
- Ontario – Canadian Fertility Consulting – www.fertilityconsultants.ca
- Alberta – ANU Fertility – www.anufertility.com
Work with an Outstanding Fertility Clinic
Once the surrogate mother and intended parents are matched, the intended parents can choose a fertility clinic near the location of their surrogate’s home.
Below is a list of some fertility clinics throughout Canada:
- Ontario – CReATe Fertility Centre – www.createivf.com
- Ontario – ReproMed – The Toronto Institute for Reproductive Medicine – www.repromed.ca
- British Columbia – Grace Fertility Centre – www.fertilitywithgrace.com
One Piece of Advice for Intended Parents Who Want to Pursue Surrogacy in Canada
Intended parents should focus not just on what their surrogate can do for them but what they can do for their surrogate!
Altruistic surrogacy is very different from commercial surrogacy. Surrogates are primarily motivated by experiencing the journey and the relationship with their intended parents. Forming a relationship with not just your surrogate but her family (partner and children) is vital. They are helping you have your family. It’s often said in Canada that surrogates do it for the relationship with their prospective parents, not for the money.
Surrogacy in Canada for Foreigners: For non-Canadians seeking Canadian surrogacy services, it’s crucial to navigate not only the birth registration regulations in the province where the child will be born but also their home country’s laws regarding parentage and citizenship.
For more information on Canadian surrogacy regulations and third-party reproduction, watch this video:
Please note that surrogacy laws and regulations may change over time, and it’s critical to consult with legal and medical professionals for the most up-to-date information.