Have you ever considered becoming a gestational carrier for another family looking to have children? This may seem like an overwhelming topic to think about if you have recently had a child, or maybe you have always known that you want to give this amazing gift to someone who is unable to carry their own baby. Perhaps you have heard about someone becoming a surrogate but are unsure where to start?
What is surrogacy?
Surrogacy is a way for a family to have a child when they are unable to carry a baby on their own. This has been offered to families for many years in Canada and there are strict guidelines set by the Canadian government to ensure families and gestational carriers are protected. There are no limitations as to who can seek out third party reproduction in Canada. Everyone has the right to have a baby via surrogacy regardless of race, gender, marital status, ethnicity or sexual orientation. The important piece to this journey is that intended parents are matched with the right gestational carrier and that they have a connection.
Common Questions for Gestational Carriers
Were you afraid you wouldn’t be able to give the baby away?
There is a lot of mental health support before, during and after the pregnancy to ensure you are feeling supported through the journey. Every gestational mother I have talked to states that they don’t find this piece difficult because it’s a different kind of bond than when you are carrying your own child. You know from the beginning that you’re a safe place to grow another mother’s baby so this is usually not a concern. This is also why most agencies require women to have had children before they volunteer to be a surrogate carrier, so that there is a clear difference between the two pregnancies.
Do you have to use your own egg?
There are two types of surrogacy— traditional in which the gestational carrier uses her egg and is inseminated via IVF, and gestational in which you use donor eggs and sperm. Both procedures require IVF to become pregnant.
How do we talk to our other children about this?
Honesty is so important with kids. They will often jump on board if you do and will feel empowered knowing that mom and dad are helping another family become whole. Depending on the distance between the intended family and the surrogate carrier, your children may get to know the parents as well.
Guidelines for Gestational Carriers
It is important that gestational carriers understand the risks of having a baby via surrogacy. In order to be a gestational carrier, agencies will have guidelines that adhere to standards set by the Canadian government. The biggest difference between Canadian laws and other country’s surrogacy sanctions are that in Canada this must be an altruistic act. Women are not allowed to become gestational carriers for payment in Canada.
Most surrogacy agencies will require that women looking to become a gestational carrier have had healthy pregnancies previously. This is for your safety and also for the intended parent’s safety— its important to know that you will have as minimal risks as possible during your pregnancy. They will also require that you’re in good physical and mental health.
The biggest piece of advice that families have for people wanting to become a surrogate or for families starting their journey with surrogacy is to do your research, ask a lot of questions and be mindful of the agency in which you hire. This is a huge decision for your family!
If you are an intended parent or gestational carrier, and are looking for a personalized prenatal class that is specific for your family, The Mama Coach would love to help. We provide in home or virtual prenatal education that works for your life and is without judgement.