Intended Parents FAQs
What are the costs involved?
I have included a general estimate under the ‘Information’ tab, but it’s very subjective based on individual needs, which clinic you choose, how many IVF procedures are needed, if you need an egg donor, etc. Under the ‘Programs’ tab all of my costs are outlined. A surrogate’s expenses can add up to $25,000. The fees for lawyers, clinics, and counsellors are all above that, unless you sign up for our All-Inclusive Program. A general rule is that you should have the ability to access at least $50,000.
How are Intended Parents matched?
Canadian Law says that as an agency I cannot charge a fee for ‘matching’ anyone. Nor would I assume to know who is best fitted for each other. What I can do is provide a safe space in which Intended Parents can be placed on a database for qualified surrogates to review. I pre-screen each surrogate extensively so all potential parents can feel safe. I build a profile for both surrogate and Intended Parent that displays who you are and what has brought you to surrogacy. What happens from there is similar to ‘online dating’. You email, arrange video calls, visits, phone calls, on your own as to get to know each other. However, keep in mind that while every surrogate will review all profiles, she only picks 3-5 to actually speak with. After carefully reading the full profiles, she will choose her top favourite ones that she wants to get to know further. I will directly email those IPs with her profile. So while every surrogate gets to read all IP profiles, not every IP will get to talk to that surrogate. There are major issues such as termination choices, location, expenses, that may rule out a profile immediately. Everything is about what you desire best for your journey and which surrogate will respect your needs and wishes along that journey.
How are surrogates screened?
It is very important that the Intended Parents feel confident when they get a surrogate profile. They can rest easy knowing that she has been screened to the best of our ability already. I discuss at great length with each woman, the commitment it requires to be a surrogate. That’s the first and always the most important issue. I don’t want someone ever being pressured into a journey they aren’t fully prepared for. I have an application process that checks off significant factors like health problems, history of pregnancy and birth, psychological factors and termination views. Then we discuss at length what their desires are regarding their journey. There is a zoom consultation scheduled to meet for all of these conversations. I prefer a call with each partner or husband also to ensure he is supportive. Then the surrogate moves forward with extensive pre-medical screening that includes: a letter of recommendation from their doctor, a full blood panel workup, infectious disease screening, urine drug screening, and a recent pap test report or I have them redo the test with their family doctor. I also request criminal background checks to be cleared. We want all surrogates and to have a good understanding of the process and are comfortable with moving ahead.
Why an agency, or more importantly, why Canadian Surrogacy Community?
Many couples look at the agency fees as excessive. For the most part, agencies have traditionally been known for helping couples find a surrogate and nothing else. I would then concur that the fees are excessive to do just that, except that’s not the limit of what I provide. I have a program designed to mediate, facilitate, refer, and support. The reason I decided to offer this is because I truly believe that a successful journey starts on Day 1 of speaking with an agency. You should feel comfortable with whom you speak with. You should Never feel pressured to sign anything ever until you have done your research. You should feel your agency has relevant and recent experience in the surrogacy field and has built a network of reliable professionals to help during every step. You should have confidence in how the agency screens surrogates and the reasons why they accept them into the program. Most importantly, you should feel that your agency is trustworthy and has your best interests at heart. They should feel less of a business and more like a friend, because this isn’t a ‘shoe-store- type’ business. Heart and soul pours from me into each new IP, egg donor, and surrogate and my intention is to always help everyone match and move on into a positive journey. Going ‘Indy’ as it’s referred to in the surrogate world (surrogates who don’t enlist an agency to help them) carries risks that IPs should be aware of. I know many amazing surrogates who found their couples on their own and I say ‘Fabulous’ and power to you. I also have seen many mishaps and disasters because surrogates were not properly screened and huge issues were overlooked because IPs have a ‘blind spot’ in their rush to find someone. They also are on their own and if they have never done surrogacy before, it can be a scary prospect to navigate clinics, doctors, laws, regulations, expectations, contracts, etc. But it’s the support system I provide that really makes it all worth while – for both the IPs and the surrogate. The time and money I invest to screen everyone involved, build profiles, make trips to clinics, emails and referrals to all professionals, coordinate everyone together, and then support the entire way is huge. And I have to find surrogates and Intended Parents who are searching for help, and that takes advertising and awareness and it’s costly too. I am conscious about everyone’s needs and feelings and I understand that the costs of surrogacy are beyond what some people can afford. I wish it wasn’t so expensive, but the reality is that everyone plays a part and everyone’s part is important. An agency has a vital role to play – at least my agency does!
Why are contracts needed?
Lawyers are necessary to document everyone’s wishes and needs during the journey in case something is ever questioned. Ultimately, trust is always what you want between people, but having a legal back up system is to protect all parties. Intended Parents will have their lawyer draw up a contract and the surrogate or egg donor will have their own lawyer to give them advice and make any necessary changes. The process should not be about each party getting the most from the other – it should be about compromise and mutual goal of a smooth journey. An experienced fertility lawyer is the best way to go! From start to finish they ensure everyone is comfortable with moving forward. When the time comes to stamp the paperwork that declares the IPs as the legal parents, it needs to be stress-free.
Do surrogates ever want to keep the baby?
The short answer is no. Surrogates and I discuss the essence of language surrounding their journey. It’s important for not only their mindset, but the mindset of their family, children, social circle, etc. that they use proper terminology. I always told my kids that I was growing a baby for Frank and Norm and “giving it BACK”, as opposed to the term many use – “giving it AWAY”. Even those small intentions with wording make a big difference. Ultimately, surrogates gain a kind of euphoria around being a part of a miracle in a new way. The goal of holding their baby in their own birth is morphed into a joy of watching you hold your baby for the first time. One replaces the other quite easily. The most powerful emotion I remember after my surrogate births was a feeling of missing my IPs. We had built such a close bond and spent so much time getting to know each other, that it wasn’t the baby I missed, but the feeling I had that I was wanted and needed by my IPs. It’s an easy transition out of that emotion when IPs are considerate of this factor and include their surrogate by sending pictures, announcements, and simply keeping in contact with her. It allows the relationship to foster a healthy afterglow. It should be a place of peace and contentment for everyone.
Want to start a program?
At Canadian Surrogacy Community our IPs and Surrogates feel comfortable as they embark on a journey to become a family. Our customized programs provide a step-by-step plan including one-on-one supportive consultation and detailed communication ensuring you feel restful while we coordinate making your miracle come true.