Gestational Surrogacy

Sometimes, it takes a village...

Gestational Surrogacy

Sometimes, it takes a village...

Your family planning journey is unique. Your care should be too.

Markham Fertility Centre has a dedicated Donor and Surrogacy team that will guide you through all aspects of your family-building journey, whether that includes sperm donation, egg donation, embryo donation and/or gestational surrogacy. Rest assured knowing that our program is Health Canada approved after a stringent review process.

About Gestational Surrogacy

Choosing a person to carry your precious embryo is a big decision. We are here to help support you in finding the right person for this role in your family building journey.

Gestational carriers, or surrogates, are individuals who carry and deliver a child for another person or couple (intended parent[s]). The intended parent(s) typically provide the eggs and/or sperm to create an embryo via in vitro fertilization (IVF).  Donor eggs, donor sperm and/or donor embryos may also be used. The embryo can then be transferred into the uterus of a gestational carrier.

A gestational carrier may be used by an individual or couple in the following scenarios:

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    Same-sex and/or transgender person or couple with no uterus.

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    Prior hysterectomy (surgery to remove a uterus).

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    Individual or couple where one person may have a uterus but has a medical condition that may affect their ability to carry a pregnancy safely.

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    Individual or couple that has experienced recurrent implantation failure and/or recurrent pregnancy loss.

The journey of an intended parent is one of dedication and love, made possible by the gestational carrier who demonstrates a selfless commitment to someone else's dream of having a child.

Your Journey Using a Gestational Surrogate (Carrier) Begins Here

The gestational surrogacy journey is unique for each person or couple embarking on this endeavour.  In Canada, the longest part of the journey is finding and matching with a prospective gestational carrier.  Most agencies have a 1-2 year waiting list. However, if you already have a gestational carrier - either through an agency or someone known to you - the process can be significantly shorter. Below are some of the key steps along the way and may not necessarily be done in the order listed below.

Surrogacy Consultation

In all cases, the intended parent(s) will need to create embryos.  Depending on the circumstances there are may different pathways to get to this point.  Options include using your own eggs obtained through an IVF cycle, which can be fertilized using partner or donor sperm. Alternatively, you may need donor eggs and partner sperm or donor sperm.  In more rare cases, it is possible to proceed with donor embryos.  

Finding a Gestational Carrier

If you are working with an agency, it may take 1 to 2 years to be matched with a potential gestational carrier.  If you already know someone with is willing to act as your gestational carrier then the process is much faster.  Our donor and surrogacy team will support and guide as you navigate this process.

Testing - Medical and Infectious Disease Screening

The potential gestational carrier will meet with one of our fertility physicians to review their pregnancy and medical history to determine their suitability for being a carrier. The potential gestational carrier will also undergo testing to ensure their health is optimized for pregnancy. Both the potential carrier and the intended parent(s) will also complete infectious disease screening.   

Implications Counselling

Counselling is an important part of any surrogacy journey. Counselling provides an opportunity for all involved individuals to work through issues together and separately and maintain their mental health.  Counselling also ensures that both you and the gestational carrier fully understand the implications so both parties can consent to treatment. Counselling can help both parties understand the emotional implications of surrogacy and how it may affect you and everyone involved. It can also help you prepare for any potential issues that may arise in the future.

Legal Consultation

Gestational carrier agreements are an essential part of the process. It is considered best practice for the the gestational carrier and the intended parent(s) to have independent legal advice.  There are a number of experienced reproductive lawyers in Canada to choose from. The D&S team can also provide a list.   

Preparing to Transfer Embryos into the Gestational Carrier

The gestational carrier will start by taking estrogen medications for a couple of weeks prior to transfer of the embryo.  They will need to come for at least one appointment at MFC for a transvaginal ultrasound to assess the lining of the uterus. About six days prior to the transfer, they will start progesterone medications.  The embryo transfer is a short, painless, 15 minute procedure that takes place at MFC. 

Pregnancy Test (14 days after Transfer)

We will ask the gestational carrier to come into the clinic for a pregnancy test about 14 days after the embryo transfer. Waiting for a pregnancy result can be difficult.  Click here for some strategies to cope with the waiting period.  If you have a positive result, we will book an ultrasound exam to confirm pregnancy. If the result is negative, we will meet with you and your gestational carrier to review the cycle and talk about options.

MFC Donor & Surrogacy Program

Sperm Donation

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Options for those using donor sperm including known donor and sperm from an approved sperm bank

Egg Donation

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Our egg donor program including options for known egg donor and frozen eggs from donor egg banks

Embryo Donation

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Overview of our unique embryo donation program outlining the steps and requirements

Common Questions About Gestational Surrogacy

It is our goal to make your journey as effortless as possible while ensuring you have the best information available.

Our dedicated Donor and Surrogacy Team is your champion that will help you navigate all of the steps needed during this journey.