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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.
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.
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.
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.