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How family planning and a woman’s right to choose go hand-in-hand, and the implications of Roe v. Wade in Canada

A Perspective from a Surrogacy Community that Loves Babies

In last month’s blog, we talked about choice – the freedom of choice a woman has in Canada to become an altruistic surrogate through programs like Canadian Surrogacy Community.

A woman, however, does NOT have the choice to be a surrogate for financial compensation in Canada, which I believe politicizes a woman’s body. If she were able to accept payment to carry one’s child, it does not mean she isn’t also wanting to truly help a couple become parents. Because whether she took compensation or not – it’s a huge feat to be pregnant for someone else. Carrying and caring for another’s unborn baby is neither for the selfish nor the faint of heart. Why does money always seem to taint any good intention? That is the question of the ages that may never be answered.

Choice and a woman’s reproductive rights have been a hot topic this year. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that Roe v. Wade was overturned in the States – a devastating setback by putting women’s rights back 50 years, but also putting many women’s health in jeopardy.

If you need a quick refresher: 

Roe v. Wade is a landmark American legal case from 1973, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that individual state laws banning abortion were unconstitutional. However, The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022 – dismantling almost fifty years worth of progress and protection, and allowing individual states to determine their own abortion laws or bans.

So why would a surrogacy program in Canada care?

After all, we love babies. LOVE THEM. It’s our job to facilitate the creation of new families. We care because a woman’s right to choose isn’t limited to the options in which she can start a family – it includes all types of family planning, and the right to choose what is best for her physical and mental health. If abortion laws are being overturned in the USA, what is next? Surrogacy is already taboo in many countries and illegal in others. Will we see a shift in the rights of women in Canada too?

A surrogate has the right to decide to take on this monumental role of pregnancy on behalf of another. Likewise, when it comes to abortion, a woman should equally be able to decide whether or not to carry a pregnancy. Both scenarios, at the core, are about a woman’s right to choose. 

So when does life begin?

That’s the number one question that is heavily debated regarding abortion, and when you’re in the business of creating life, the talk of embryo creation, transferring, implanting, freezing, etc. is everyday conversation.

Many of those who are against abortion are also against the process of IVF, because ‘life begins at conception’ and embryos are potentially destroyed in the IVF process. But here are some thoughts they are not considering: Firstly, many times those embryos are not even viable after fertilization. Secondly, many women don’t have leftover embryos at the end of the day. Thirdly, my personal opinion is that my kids wouldn’t be alive if we had not chosen the IVF path.

Family Planning and The Right to Choose go Hand-in-Hand

Life is created and fought for during the IVF process. How could anyone look into the sweet face of an IVF-created baby and think that they shouldn’t be here because some multi-celled embryos were sacrificed along the way? These kids are a miracle and a labour of love. The evolution of science has given us the ability to help those who otherwise couldn’t have children. Are we not humans with the ability to evolve and learn our potential for solving life’s many mysteries? Might someone tell me that my inability to have children was a sign from God that I wasn’t supposed to be a Mom? Science has helped us fight diseases that could wipe out our species, but we can’t use science to help combat infertility? Who decides what scientific advancements should and shouldn’t be used for?

These terms “pro-life” and “pro-choice” are extremely outdated and fail to give these tough topics the respect they deserve. Nothing is black and white when it comes to the choice of abortion. Who isn’t pro-life? People need to stop making this topic about one side or the other. It isn’t that simple.

Anyone affiliated with the reproductive technology world or programs like Canadian Surrogacy Community (CSC) are indeed advocates for creating life, and that’s what they do every day. But CSC is run by empowered women who advocate first and foremost, for a woman’s right to choose – her body, her choice.  

Family planning goes both ways – the desire to start a family and have accessible options to do so, should be treated the same as the desire to not want to pursue an unwanted/unexpected pregnancy, and also have equally accessible options.  

I had to make a choice….I GOT to make a choice.

I’ve walked through infertility and come out the other side. After so many ups and downs to have my babies, I ultimately had to make a difficult choice in the end of what to do with the embryos we did not use.

I have two beautiful kids. But my husband and I decided not that long ago, that in our hearts, our family was complete. While raising two toddlers, I knew that introducing another newborn into the mix would be my undoing. Mentally, I know I’m at capacity – and that’s OK. Props to the parents who can manage three or more kids.

The choice I faced was what to do with our remaining two embryos, and for a better look at my infertility story, check out the blog post here.

After a mix of both failed and successful transfers that resulted in two healthy kids, I had two embryos in the freezer and we were undecided for months over what to do with them, essentially avoiding the major conversation that needed to take place that would force us to answer the following question; “Are we done having kids?”

But I worked so hard for those embryos!! To not go back for them almost made me angry, and that was just one of many emotions I had to experience to come to a sound decision.

But it was my decision and my right to make. It shouldn’t even be considered a ‘privilege’ that I had options, because it’s my body. It’s concerning when we have to say that these types of choices are privileges since reproductive rights and reproductive access are so limited.

While those embryos may not have been ‘aborted’ because they were not inside my body, I can’t imagine a scenario where I was forced to carry those potential pregnancies, simply because the embryos existed and had the potential to be human beings one day.

My husband made a valid point to me when we were having this critical conversation; “If we had twenty embryos left, you couldn’t realistically go back for all twenty of them.” He was right. That would be impossible, and this made the decision easier after considering his train of thought.

So our next big question to answer was, what to do with the remaining embryos? 

We felt good about deciding to allow our clinic to use them for scientific purposes. When we asked about this in greater detail, it was explained that they use these embryos for training new embryologist technicians. If our little embryos can someday help advance the IVF process for others, then so be it.

It was a heavy decision to make, because it was hard to pull the plug on the fruits of our IVF labour and I had to mourn the idea of the children I might have had. I had to make peace with this decision. I have two terrific kids, which is something I once thought would never be possible.

Enduring infertility challenges doesn’t automatically make you PRO-LIFE.

I’ve struggled with my conflicting emotions myself on this topic. Once upon a time, I did consider myself pro-life. Maybe it was the Catholic guilt. After all, I do remember once in high school religion class, young moms sponsored by the Rose of Sharon came in to talk about their experiences with unexpected pregnancy and motherhood. While the theme of the lesson was not titled, ‘abortion is bad’, the message was very clear.

The anger and frustration during infertility can also certainly lead to some irrational thinking, which is totally understandable. We have thoughts like…

“Here I am, struggling to conceive, and there are people out there who have the audacity to get an abortion?!”


“Maybe if fewer women had abortions, there would be more kids to adopt!”

But the lives, journeys, and decisions of others have nothing to do with me. It took a while to reach this heightened mindset.

It also doesn’t matter what I think, because my opinion shouldn’t dictate what others can do with their bodies.

So when people say, “Well, I personally wouldn’t choose to get one if I were in the situation of an unwanted pregnancy”, then that’s as much your choice as someone who chooses the opposite. You just currently get to be on the ‘right’ side of sticky politics. Because in the USA we are watching women’s rights take a giant leap backwards.

But we’re in Canada. Why does Roe v. Wade matter to us?

Since the 17th century, we have seen the dangers of religious states. We have watched witches being burned at the stake because they didn’t fit the mold of Christianity. In the USA, the First Amendment states that people are protected from the religious choices of others from being forced upon them. How does this not equate to abortion laws? Do people not see history repeating itself, all in the name of God? If you think this is isolated to the USA, you can think again. It’s an attack on everyone’s rights and freedoms and is proof that becoming complacent is dangerous. We have to stand up and fight for our rights every day.

Abortion access was already problematic in Canada before the proverbial shit hit the fan in the States, and it varies greatly from province to province. In Nova Scotia, there is only one abortion clinic. In New Brunswick, there are only three hospitals where a woman can have safe access to an abortion. There are eleven clinics in Ontario but the majority are in the Greater Toronto Area.

Let’s also address the fact that we have overrun clinics, thousands of Canadians who cannot currently find a family doctor, and then those who don’t live in urban centres… their options are extremely limited all over the country.

Even though abortion is decriminalized in Canada, we still have plenty of work to do in our own backyard. Remember, it is not a constitutional right and the setback we are witnessing to reproductive rights to our closest neighbour should put Canadians on edge and get them talking, advocating, and asking questions.

We may be a pro-choice country, but for many who struggle here to find access to safe abortion, they aren’t given much choice, are they?

My story may also open the door to many questions in the aftermath of Roe v. Wade regarding IVF… will women like myself in similar situations have choices regarding what to do with leftover embryos? If life starts at conception, will there be laws in certain states that come down hard on IVF practices? It’s a little scary and there is a lot to unpack, plus a lot of uncertainty.

What are your thoughts? Please share in the comments below.


  1. https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/abortion-is-legal-in-canada-but-is-it-accessible-1.5892397

Why choose us?

We set standards for how surrogacy should be approached in Canada. Founder, Angela Truppe sits on an Ethics Committee with a team of professionals in the industry to ensure that the decisions made within her program are above reproach and do not compromise the integrity of her clients. The team at CSC are always striving to offer the best resources, guidance, and support through every step of the process.

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