Surrogate numbers in the UK are still low compared to the number of intended parents looking for help, and although many intended parents will wait to find a UK surrogate, others have found their journey to having children of their own has already taken too long and they therefore look to other destinations. Canada is one such destination that Brilliant Beginnings helps intended parents navigate.
Surrogacy in Canada has been happening for a number of years, but over time has been evolving. It is estimated that around 1,000 surrogacies now happen in Canada each year, and there are a number of organisations that now offer an established service to both Canadian nationals and internationally based intended parents. Surrogates feel valued, and are treated with respect by surrogacy professionals. In a nutshell, Canada offers regulation, legal framework, attractive timescales, an altruistic ethos and reasonable costs. Surrogacy in Canada feels very similar to the UK, but adds some legal certainty, and crucially higher numbers of surrogates.
Surrogacy is governed by federal law in respect of payments to surrogates and how professionals operate. Surrogates cannot be paid beyond their expenses. Legal parentage is province-led, and surrogacy is open to all. There are a number of experienced attorneys that work well nationally or in particular provinces. It is important that they are also used to working internationally.
Agencies, or consultancies as they are known, operate differently to agencies in the US, and the services they provide and payment they receive are clearly defined by Canadian law. Screening and preparation of surrogates varies with some consultants matching relatively quickly, and others with more in depth processes pre match. Match times vary from 3–18 months. Surrogates will often lead busy lives alongside being a surrogate, and many may be independent single women. Consultancies tend to have close relationships with particular clinics and attorneys, so it is important to understand the whole cluster in advance of picking one organisation.
Clinical standards in Canada are good, but vary. It is important that intended parents identify a clinic that has good success rates, but are also experienced in surrogacy and working internationally. There is an option to conduct IVF and/or identify egg donors in the US, and a surrogate in Canada. This offers greater choice of donors, and a proven track record on fertility success with the clinic.
A budget of £80,000+ would be sensible to include,
• Egg Donor (her fees and agency)
• Surrogate Expenses
• Baby’s healthcare (Surrogates will be cared for by the state healthcare system).
• Travel and accommodation for intended parents
• UK legal fees to resolve legal parentage from a UK perspective.
We can help you navigate the important decisions over which organisations are going to work best for you. We can help you pick through the different choices to ensure you set up with organisations with the right experience and reputation to fit your budget and preferences. If you would like to find out more, please get in touch with a member of the team, or have a look through our website.