Surrogacy in Canada - Is Surrogacy Right for You?
Is Surrogacy For You?
Surrogacy in Canada – Thank you so much for considering surrogacy, as an amazing way to help another person/couple build or grow their family. The information listed below is to help you, as a Surrogate, think about the different situations that may come up, and to help you decide if this will be a healthy decision for you and your family.
*Pregnancy, and getting pregnant can be a long process lasting a year or longer. Are you ready to make that commitment?
*Do you think that emotionally you will be able to stay focused, knowing that this child is going to be handed over at birth?
*Do you have someone that can give you the daily, and sometimes painful injections required, or could you do them yourself?
*Is your family going to be able to support you throughout this process?
*Is your schedule flexible to allow for the many doctors appointments?
*Are you prepared for the possibility of being put on strict bed rest if pregnancy complications were to arise?
*Are you prepared to carry a multiple pregnancy? In Canada the rate of twins through surrogacy IVF is twenty-five (25%).
*Would you be willing to selectively reduce or terminate if a doctor advises?
*Are you willing to take the risk of your health and life if serious complications were to arise?
All of these issues are
Canadian Fertility Consultants - Start at the End A Guest Post by Candice Collins
Canadian Fertility Consultants :Thursday, 22 August 2013 – Guest post by Candice Collins
Start at the End
Life is funny. I dont consider myself a smug person. I try to be positive (although I’m not always sunshine and roses as those close to me can attest to). Generally though, I make the best of things, and can’t tolerate whining. I believe in karma, and the universe sending you back what you put out. I think we should all ‘Pay It Forward’. I had always been in love with the idea of surrogacy. As long as I was aware of it, it spoke to me. I had an extremely easy time getting and staying pregnant. I couldn’t conceive (yes, I said it) of wanting a family with no means to have one.
After my youngest three children were born, an opportunity presented itself, and with Jeff’s blessing I pursued it. And so 19 months ago, my first surrogacy journey began. Aside from a slightly bumpy start (we lost a twin early on), it was a pretty seamless pregnancy. At 40 weeks and 1 day, with Jeff and my phenomenal doula Michelle by my side, I delivered an 8 pound 10 ounce baby boy to his waiting mom and dad, and 2 ecstatic grandmas. It was awesome, in the truest sense of the word. And I knew that this wouldn’t be my last time. Until you have seen a painful 13 year journey come to such a life-changing conclusion, you cannot fathom the emotion.
When I got the all-clear from my doctor, I was ready. I connected with a fantastic couple, and knew that these were the guys. We talked, emailed, texted and finally met. We loved them, and we just felt like these were people who were ready for a family. I was excited to help them. And so we started. We went through testing, and screening and felt excited for the future. Within weeks, E’s sister came from Scotland to donate her eggs. And on a hot and sunny day, with the dads, my daughter and one of bestie surro sisters there, two perfect embryos were delivered to my ‘perfect’ uterus. We were giddy and anticipating the best. 4 days later, a home pregnancy test confirmed that those embys had found it comfy enough to stay. I sent P and E a picture of the test that said YES. They were over the moon, and couldn’t sleep that night. Like any other expectant parents, they spent the night dreaming, and planning. 4 more home tests and bloodwork confirmed what we knew. At least one baby was on board.
However, my closest friends and family knew that I was uneasy. Something just didn’t feel ‘right’. I went to my clinic to get more bloodwork done and mentioned my concerns to my doctor. He felt certain that all was well, and told me that the risk of something being wrong was minimal. So I came home, somewhat reassured, but still concerned.
Fast forward a week and a half, and I knew. I woke up in the morning to blood. It was almost like a confirmation for me that I wasn’t crazy. I emailed my clinic right away and was told it was normal, and not to be concerned. This wasn’t my first rodeo though, and this felt different. Perhaps like my last pregnancy, I was losing a twin? I worked through the weekend while spotting off and on. By Tuesday morning, I knew that I needed to be checked. I drove myself to the hospital, and after ultrasounds, the on-call doctor proclaimed that I had in fact lost a twin and likely ruptured a cyst. He prescribed heat and Tylenol. I took my daughter and her friend shopping and for lunch, and then came home to rest. I messaged P to let him know that we had in fact had two babies, but we were down to what appeared to be one healthy bean. He was sad but happy that one baby was hanging in. We talked about our ultrasound at the clinic on Thursday and made our plans to meet up. I told Jeff that apparently, I could carry twins for us, but not for anyone else.
Wednesday morning I woke sore and with more blood. I wasn’t overly concerned, but I did feel like crud. I spoke to Jeff and got ready to head out to grab coffee. As I got to the door, I turned to leave and the pain was horrible. I felt myself starting to black out, so I laid on the couch. When Jeff couldn’t get me to sit up, or make sense I guess, he called an ambulance. The paramedics transported me to Picton. They could see I was bleeding, and they could see the baby, but it didn’t seem to be viable. I was sad, but knew we had lots of frozen embryos, so figured we’d go right back at it once this was resolved. They sent me to Belleville by ambulance to clarify what was going on, and for a possible D&C. I remember being at the hospital. My ob/gyn happened to be on call, and after doing his own ultrasound, he knew I was bleeding but couldn’t figure out why, or from where. The only thing that he could fathom was that the first twin we thought was lost had actually migrated to my tube, and I had a ruptured ectopic. He prepped me for surgery and assured me he would only do what was absolutely necessary to stop the bleeding. As the nurse got me ready to go, my leg began to ache. And swell, in front of our eyes. They didn’t mess around. I was transferred to the OR.
It gets hazy for me here. I recall a bit of panic. I know that I apologized for ruining the doctors carefully structured day (I knew he had a surrogate waiting to be induced) and he told me, You’re an enormous pain in my ass. God, I love that guy. It was about 11:30 Wednesday morning. And then, nothing.
I woke up, and panicked. I could see Jeff sitting next to me, and I couldn’t breathe. There was a respiratory therapist in the room, and he removed the tube that had been breathing for me. Jeff asked if I knew where I was. I assumed Belleville. I was in ICU at Kingston hospital. It was Thursday afternoon. Apparently things had gone horribly wrong. When my doctor when in to repair my ruptured ectopic, no such thing was there. Both babies were gone, and I was bleeding out as fast as they could put it in. They finally found a tear in an artery in my pelvis. My doctor and surgeon tell me that in their combined 65 years of practice they’d never seen anything like it. When I was bleeding, a tiny little lymph node made his way around and blocked a vein to my leg. My leg proceeded to clot, and as a result, I almost lost my leg. My doctors in Belleville did what they could, and then stabilized me to move to Kingston. In Kingston a vascular surgeon put a filter in my leg to catch the clots. And then they waited.
When I woke up, and started to get more aware, I realized I couldn’t move my left leg. It was the size of a tree trunk and numb. The clot had damaged tissue, muscles and nerves. It would remain to be seen whether it would ever be normal. I had lines coming from everywhere. But I was alive, and apparently a few hours before, that had remained to be seen.
My first thought was for the dads, and their lost babies. I was devastated for them. I immediately set about to find them a surrogate and make sure that they were okay. I think the reality of my situation hadn’t quite set in. I was worried about Jeff being at work, and who was running the restaurant. I was worried for the babies, and for my older kids and whether it was too much for them to cope with. I was worried about my job, and whether they could cover my shifts. I asked Jeff if he had let them know I’d be off for the weekend (see, reality and I? Not quite in step)
I was on a mission. I wanted to get home. They were pretty impressed by how quickly I made strides. But I had a plan, and clearly they’d never met me. So, three days after almost losing my life, they were able to send me back to Belleville. And by Monday, I was home. On blood thinners, unable to really walk (I had a hobble down pat though) and with a c-section incision, but no babies (this was the first surgery I’d ever had, and I was NOT impressed) But I was HOME.
It has been 2 weeks now, and over the last few days, my new reality has set in. My world has shifted on it’s axis. I can’t walk properly or stand for any length of time. I can’t work as a server, and no one cares that we own a restaurant, or that it’s all I know. But the hardest thing to come to terms with is that I can never carry again. It’s too dangerous, and no doctor would support me. I will never be pregnant again, feel a baby move, know I’m growing a life. That is the thing that torments me. Not for my own loss, but for the couple that was planning a nursery, and looking at baby clothes and dreaming the dreams of parents-to-be.
In the dark, or when no one is home, this is what makes me weep. Copious tears of pain and loss. I grieve for P and E, and their dreams that are on hold while they regroup. Sadness for the end of what was supposed to be a beginning of something wonderful. I know that I am fortunate. I lived. I mourn the babies that didn’t. I wonder if there was something that I could have, should have done. Or shouldn’t have. Did I not ask enough questions, push hard enough for answers? Was there something that *I* did that caused this?
I have begun to regroup. I support surrogates in their journeys, and I am a huge cheerleader for them as they go throught their transfers. I celebrate their positive tests, and commiserate when it didn’t work this time. It is helping me to heal. I am devoting my time to starting back into birthwork, and being a doula to support women and their families as they welcome new life. And quietly I grieve. To myself, I mourn.
Life has no guarantees. We are not promised anything. There are those with better, but many with worse than what I have come through. This blog is my homage to life, and it’s surprises. And it’s to share with you how my life almost ending has helped me to start over, from a better, more grateful place
Canadian Fertility Consultants - Bayfield Surrogate Retreat........An amazing weekend of friendship and Surro Sisterhood!!!
This past weekend Canadian Fertility Consultants had the immense pleasure of hosting a Surrogate Retreat in beautiful Bayfield, Ontario. We had 10 surrogates attend this weekend full of friendship, and fun.
We often get asked how we support our surrogates, how can we connect with our surrogates, and how can we impart our pregnancy knowledge. These weekends are all about that!!! We invite all of our surrogates to come, and spend time with other Surrogates, learning from each other about pregnancy, and most importantly Surrogacy.
During this weekend, we enjoyed LOTS of food, prepared by all of us, working in teams to create meals that we could enjoy together. Saturday afternoon was spent in Bayfield, window shopping, and of course enjoying an ice cream. Saturday evening, Angie Pruim led us in a blessing way- a spiritual celebration of pregnancy, and birth, including meditation, henna, and creating wisdom boxes for each of the 6 pregnant women, that we would each jot down inspiring notes that each of us would read after our delivery, to inspire of us. It was an amazing celebration of pregnancy, and birth, that we all enjoyed taking part in.
On Sunday we all said goodbye, heading back to our respective cities, renewed, and refreshed, knowing that the time spent together would carry us through not only the amazing times during our pregnancies, but also the difficult times.
This month, we will be hosting a Dessert nights in both Niagara, and Belleville. This will help us keep connection with our Surrogates, as its one of our core values- Connection throughout your journey!!
We look forward to many more opportunities to connect with our surrogates, as they go through their journeys, or complete them, and become mentors for our other surrogates. Our mentor program is such an integral part of our program, as our Surro Gurus have so much to share with our newbies. Our newbies are so excited to have someone to share the ups, and downs of their journey with.
We look forward to hosting many more retreats, and are hopeful that many more surrogates are able to participate, as we are as blessed as our surrogates are, sharing this most special time with them.
Canadian surrogate - Question from an Intended Mom: What is induced Lactation?
Canadian Surrogate – Many intended Moms that CFC works with ask how, and if they can Breastfeed their baby, upon birth. We are so excited to be asked this question, as we are HUGE supporters of Induced lactation, and the bonding that it creates between Mother, and Babe.
Induced lactation is the production of milk in female mammary glands, and occurs naturally during pregnancy and post-pregnancy breastfeeding. Women may want to induce lactation if they are planning on adopting a baby or becoming a mother through Gestational Surrogacy. Lactation is governed by pituitary hormones (as opposed to ovarian hormones) and, therefore, any woman can stimulate lactation, regardless of her obstetric or gynecological history.
We suggest that Moms find resources in their community if they live in a major city, however if they live in a smaller, rural community we are happy to refer them to Breastfeeding resources that will be able to provide support from afar.
Most intended Moms will often begin this research when their Surrogate goes into her second trimester, in order to give her adequate time to develop a milk supply.
Here are some links to great resources that we suggest to Intended Moms,
If you are an Intended Mom, and have had experience with Induced lactation, we’d love to hear from you, as your experience will be so valuable to others considering breastfeeding as an option.
Fertility Treatments Canada - How to choose a Fertility Clinic/Reproductive Endocrinologist
How to Choose A Reproductive Endocrinologist/Fertility Clinic
Fertility Treatments Canada – many of our clients come to CFC, asking for a referral to fertility clinic, as they haven’t been able to find a clinic that suits their specific fertility needs. Over the past five years, there is one thing we have realized- All Fertility is created differently. Whether it is PCOS, male factor, or a recent cancer diagnosis. Our goal is to help you find a clinic, and Dr that has extensive experience in treating the infertility issues that you are facing.
The following information is provided to help you select a reproductive specialist.
Factors to Consider
The following are some important factors to consider when searching for your fertility doctor or service:
? Success/pregnancy rates
? Qualifications and experience of personnel
? Types of patients being treated
? Support services available
? Recommendations & Reputation
To further your research, the success rates of reproductive clinics are available at the following links:
It is important to note that these numbers are two to three years old and can sometimes be reported differently by different centers, so these figures should not be the only factor that you consider.
The following are sample questions that may help you make an informed decision:
? What procedures do you offer?
? How much experience do you have in these procedures and what are your success rates?
? What are your criteria for seeing patients (e.g. waiting list, age limits, single vs. married, etc.)?
? What screening tests are required?
? What is the time commitment?
? Does the program meet and follow ASRM guidelines?
? Does the program report its results to the SART Registry and the CDC?
? Is the program a member of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology?
? How many physicians will be involved in my care?
? Are your physicians board certified in reproductive endocrinology and in good medical standing?
? What types of counseling and support services are available?
? Do you have an outline of the costs of the tests and procedures I may need?
? What are your available payment options?
? Is staff accessible to answer questions about treatment, forms, or payment?
? Do you accept insurance?
? What are the on-going storage costs of tissues (sperm, eggs, etc.)?
Surrogacy Specific Questions:
? What are your requirements/screening regarding surrogates? ie, Number of pregnancies, number of c-sections, BMI, etc.
? Are you open to using a protocol that an experienced surrogate has previously used (at another clinic), do you require medical records from pervious deliveries? If so, at what point?
? Do you require surrogate (experienced) to travel to you for screening?
? Will you accept previous psych assessments?
Surrogacy- Secondary Infertility, What gives??
Surrogacy – this morning I received the below article from one of my SI (secondary infertility) clients, it was a great wake up call for me. I think secretly I would think, like many, Well at least you have one child This article really put things in perspective for me, again, as they should be.
As a Mom myself, I often wonder what life would have been like, had I just had Christina, my oldest? One of life’s cruelest jokes has to be struggling with SI. 10% of CFCs clients are Intended parents who have one child, but for whatever reason, aren’t able to conceive again. It is so tough, as many of them come from large families, and truly just want the experience of siblings for their kids. Is that too much to ask!!!
When looking for a Surrogate for them, I know who I’m looking for- A Mom, with 3 or more kids, who understands the blessing of more than a couple of kids, and can truly understand that desire in another.
Thank you so much Tracy, for sending me this article, as it was time for me to be reminded about the blessing of siblings, and to really have it put in perspective for me how a Surrogate can be an equal blessing to those childless, as well as those with children already.
Secondary Infertility: I Have One Child. Why Can
Surrogacy - Altruistic Surrogacy, really? Isnt all Surrogacy Altruistic?? Published August 05, 2013
Surrogacy: this morning I got a call from a potential client asking if I had any Altruistic surrogates, as she continued, I became more and more confused as to what she really meant??
After five or so minutes, I had to interject, and ask her if she fully understood what a Surrogate would go through for her, and what altruistic really meant?? She answered me very puzzled, and said, Yes, well I think I do……..she’s going to carry our baby, and would give said baby to us at the end.
I agreed that both of those statements were true, but more importantly she would care for this baby, treating it as if it were her own, attend medical appointments on your behalf, she would eat well, caring for herself, and the baby, taking away from her family, to ensure that you are able to build yours.
I then quickly looked up Altruistic on www.dictionary.com Something that I hadn’t done in a while, and as I read through the definition, and it hit me, Altruistic Surrogacy, has been confused with Free Surrogacy. When I read the definition, never did it say act for another for free.
In Canada, we are limited by the AHRA, and how a surrogate can receive reimbursement, however I believe that reimbursement, vs. payment has somehow gotten confused with Altrusitic vs Commercial surrogacy. I don’t believe that giving Money the power to turn something from Altruistic, to into something Egoistic is even a conversation that as Canadians we should be having.
This morning I was reminded of something that I had forgotten. Money is just an energy exchange, it holds no power.
unselfishly concerned for or devoted to the welfare of others (opposed to egoistic ).
Animal Behavior . of or pertaining to behavior by an animal that may be to its disadvantage but that benefits others of its kind, often its close relatives.