Being at the very beginning of the journey can be pretty overwhelming. The community of intended parents and surrogates is unique and special. It uses terms and abbreviations that you probably haven't heard before.
To help you with your first steps we put together the most important wording and created a graphic to show the most important steps of surrogacy. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you want to learn more, if you have questions or just want to get in touch.
We also recommend to join one of the closed groups on facebook dedicated to surrogacy in Canada (e.g. Surrogacy Canada Support Group).
When it comes to the journey itself the most important thing you have to know is that all steps have been created to make it as smooth and easy as possible for you. You shouldn't have to pay most things out of pocket, you will be reimbursed for all pregnancy related expenses, you will be taken care of in case of wage loss or bed rest, your family will be supported if needed, and many things more.
Especially our fertility clinic (Create Fertility, Toronto, Ontario) will be watching out that the requirements are met. They will not proceed as long as there are important things missing.
Important parts of the journey are:
Being on the same page: before we even start the journey, we will get to know us better. Part of it is to discuss every detail alongside surrogacy. Serious things like what happens if the baby is not healthy or their is a risk for you, how do we deal with termination or with a selective reduction? But we also talk about the way we want to communicate with each other, about the support you would wish to get, and how you would like the delivery to take place. Please check out our other post where we write more about that topic.
Medical clearance: our clinic will test everything that is important for a healthy pregnancy. They will run bloodwork, check your previous pregnancies, and take your medical history into consideration. Only if all that is good they will medically clear you to proceed further.
Psychological consultation: our clinic provides social workers who will make an appointment with you. They will talk with you about your feelings, the reason why you wish to be a surrogate, and will give you a good overview on what to expect. They have to clear you as well to proceed in the journey.
Legal advice: You do not have to pay for it but will have an independent lawyer to navigate the legal agreement. The contract is important to put together all the things we discussed about the process itself, it will contain all details about reimbursement, wage loss, and bed rest, and will consist of details such like how many embryo transfers are you comfortable with (in case the first or second does not work). Your lawyer will be an expert in the field and will help you to decide what is best for you.
Life insurance: With all pregnancies comes a risk. To reduce the risk for your family, we will set up a life insurance for you.
Until 12 week: our fertility clinic will be with you for the first weeks of pregnancy. They will check on you and do the 12 week ultrasound. When everything is fine, they will say their goodbyes and you will be supported by your local doctor. The delivery will also take place near you in the hospital you chose.
In facebook groups but also when you start to research, you will come along some special terms:
Intended Parents (IPs): the parents who will be raising the child and will be put on the birth certificate.
Surrogate: a woman who carries a pregnancy on behalf of intended parents. We are looking for a gestational surrogate.
Gestational surrogate: A woman who acts as a surrogate and does not use her own egg. She has no genetic relation to the child. The embryos transferred have been created with the eggs of an egg donor.
Match: When a surrogate and Intended Parent(s) formally agree to move forward on a surrogacy journey together.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): A process where a medical fertility expert combines the egg and the sperm to create an embryo.
Embryo: A fertilized egg.
PGT-A testing: stands for 'Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidy' and is a test of embryos to determine the number of chromosomes it carries. This test is often recommended to decrease risk of transfer failure and miscarriage. Our embryos have been PGT-A-tested and ready for transfer.
Transfer: A procedure where an embryo is transferred to the surrogate’s uterus.