If you are thinking about working with a surrogate, you will be faced with many decisions, both large and small. You have to make some basic decisions in order to get started, and to help you narrow your parameters. In my next few blog posts, I‘ll try to help you with some of those choices.
Whether you live in Canada or abroad, you have to choose where you want your child to be born. For Canadian couples, the decision should be quite easy.
I could warn you about DNA mix-ups in India, or the prohibitive costs of healthcare in the US, but instead here are my top 5 reasons for pursuing surrogacy in Canada.
1. Provincial Health Care
We all take it for granted, but provincial health care is one of the things that helps us sleep at night. If the surrogate lives in Canada, her pre-natal costs are covered by provincial health insurance. If the intended parents live in Canada, the baby will have coverage from the moment of birth. This is a significant advantage in an absolute sense, but it also allows you the luxury of transferring more than one embryo. In the United States, we only encourage single embryo transfers so as to avoid the high cost of multiple births.
2. Surrogacy-Friendly Clinics
There are certainly great clinics around the world, and you may have already been a patient at one. Not every Canadian clinic is enthused about surrogacy, but there are a few excellent clinics that welcome surrogates and intended parents. You really want to be at a clinic that does this kind of work every day, all day, and we have them.
Our neighbours south of the border are better at reporting statistics, but they are also better at working the angles to protect those statistics. Canadian clinics are more concerned with the patient than their stats. I’ll write about how to choose the best clinic for your purposes another day, but for now, just know that we have excellent clinics that welcome surrogacy.
3. Great Surrogacy Track Record
I’m embarrassed to say it because it makes me sound old, but I have worked on thousands of surrogacy contracts. I have never, and I’ll repeat that, never been involved in a custody dispute. I can credit the system, and the protocols, the clinics, the counsellors and the lawyers, but it doesn’t matter who gets the credit. The bottom line is that surrogacy in Canada works well. You need to make some good decisions along the way to make sure that your journey is free of any drama or chaos, but your chances of success are high. Why wouldn’t you work with a surrogate in a country where there have been no disputed custody cases?
4. Compassionate Gestational Surrogates
I typically act for intended parents and I rarely get the chance to interact directly with a surrogate. There are many who have impressed me, but I don’t get the chance to tell them that because of Law Society regulations. My clients often tell me about their surrogates, their motivation, their life experiences, and how wonderful they are. Being a surrogate isn’t easy: it’s like adding a full time job to an already busy life, yet most Canadian surrogates do it with a smile on their faces.
5. Tolerant Environment
Infertility can be a long and expensive journey and we want to minimize the bumps in the road. Years ago, when I worked with my first gay couple, we had to work hard to find a clinic and a counsellor who was open to working with gay dads. You want to be in a country and in a clinic that accepts surrogacy. Trust me on this one: being the first person to do surrogacy in a jurisdiction is something best avoided.
I acted on my first surrogacy in Canada in 1996. I sat down at my computer and crafted a contract, because there were no precedents. There was one counsellor (who still works in the area) who had some relevant experience and there was really only one clinic that welcomed this work. That file ended happily: twins were born and everyone was healthy and happy. I am happy to say that there are more choices now, but the essentials remain the same: Canada is a great place to pursue surrogacy.