“Ma Puce” The story of Lucie and her two amazing Fathers
Back in august I attended my sacred pregnancy instructor training. At my retreat I met some amazing women. One is named Leia and is the CEO of Canadian fertility consultants (http://fertilityconsultants.ca/) and another named Angie, who is a surrogate support worker. We bonded and I became very interested in their work. Both woman had been surrogates and have donated their eggs to help families grow. I find it fascinating and amazing.
Being a wife to a husband who has been a sperm donor, I have had the pleasure to experience this really beautiful and delicate situation first hand. I hope to donate one day as well.
BUT. This story isn’t about me. It’s about Lucie and her two daddies.
After the retreat Leia and Angie and I stayed in contact. I came out and helped with a few things, and we are currently in the midst of planning a really lovely event together. However, the biggest honor that Leia gave me was when she asked me to provide postpartum support for two men visiting Canada from France who were going to have a baby born to a surrogate mother.
For their privacy I will call them G and F. Before Lucie was born I was in contact with G and F. They seemed very excited and curious of the unknown just like any family anticipating a new baby. We spoke back and forth for a couple weeks leading up to the birth. I learned about their work as an anesthesiologist and physiotherapist and they kept me in the loop about their surrogate’s possible induction, their visits to the hospital and excitement.
“We are still waiting !!
“She do not want yet to show her nose !! ”
Finally their sweet Lucy Arrived. They were there to witness her birth, and immediately fell in love.
“Ma puce.” They called her.
“Bonjour, ma puce. You are so beautiful.” G would say to her as he held her close.
The first day that she was home with G and F they called me to come over. You could tell that they were in a bit of a whirl. When I came by they greeted me with big smiles and hugs. I got to meet the perfectly serene and round Lucie for the first time. I could tell that G and F were a little frazzled and that they wanted to make sure they were doing everything right. Of course they were, but as new parents who love our babies that’s what we do. We went over feeding, diapering, washing, skin to skin, what to look out for and how to properly use their carrier. G was a big fan of the carrier, but F didn’t feel comfortable using it. Which is fine. I told him to make sure he is always comfortable with how he is caring for his baby. This experience isn’t meant to make you feel scared. And It’s ok if you do. G was beaming with his sweet girl attached to him. He looked completely in his element.
We also went through all the products they had brought from France for Lucie. Everything they were doing was perfect. I think they just needed someone to tell them so. To see their body language change from kind of tense to relaxed by the time I left was very satisfying for me and it made me happy. You can tell that their confidence got a bit of a boost.
As I drove home after our first meeting I was admittedly kind of annoyed. I thought about the people in the world who say that two men can’t successfully raise a child and be a “true family”. Well pardon my French but to that I say, “ fourrer dans le cul . vous crétins”! If people saw the love and adoration I witnessed in those moments, there is no way they could speak against it. It was true love and no one could deny that.
The reason G and F came to Canada to have their baby is because surrogacy is illegal in France.
“In France, since 1994, any surrogacy arrangement that is commercial or altruistic, is illegal or unlawful and is not sanctioned by the law (art 16-7 of the Code Civil). The French Courts the Cassation already took this point of view in 1991. It held that if any couple makes an agreement or arranges with another person that she is to bear the husband’s child and surrender it on birth to the couple, and that she is choosing that she will not keep the child, the couple making such an agreement or arrangement, is not allowed to adopt the child. In its judgment the court held that such an agreement is illegal on the basis of articles 6 & 1128 of the Code Civil, together with article 353 of the same code.“ – Wikipedia
In Canada our laws are quite different
“The Assisted Human Reproduction Act (AHRC) permits only altruistic surrogacy: surrogate mothers may be reimbursed for approved expenses but payment of any other consideration or fee is illegal. Quebec law, however, does not recognize surrogacy arrangements, whether commercial or altruistic.” – wikipedia
It took about a year for G and F to get everything arranged. In that time, with the help of Leia, they found a surrogate, an egg donor and had begun the process of IVF. G spoke to me about the process and how everything just seemed to fall into place. He also spoke about how thankful he was for their surrogate because without her this wouldn’t have been possible. He seemed pleased with how everything went and he mentioned to me about how they were going to be starting the process to get Lucie a brother or sister. G plans to stay home with the children until they are all off to school full time.
In the remaining visits we had together we would go over how things were going. Lucie was growing beautifully and the Doctor was happy with her progress. She is a very chilled out baby with a beautiful little round face and a good appetite. Sometimes we would hang out together and sometimes they would let me snuggle with Lucie while they went and arranged paperwork or had meetings with their lawyer. G anticipated to be here until November 30 or potentially longer until all their legal paperwork was completed.
F had to go back to France to get back to work. But he had facetime visits with Lucie and G. Sometimes I peeked in too.
Well, they must have been very efficient because G was able to leave on Nov 1st to bring their sweet girl back to France to meet all their family and friends. Of course I was overjoyed for them but a little bit sad for me as well. I really loved working with this family and it was hard to say goodbye.
I’m so honored that I got to assist this amazing family through this wild transition into fatherhood. It makes my heart smile. I hope our paths will cross again some day.
I’m so happy surrogacy is legal in Canada. Thank you Canada!
I have never met Lucie’s surrogate mother. If you see this, darling, I want you to know that I’m so inspired by you. You have changed two wonderful peoples lives in a beautiful way . You made them fathers. What they’ve always wanted. I know that they will never forget you and the courageous and selfless act that you did for them. Your surro-baby is in wonderful hands. Thank you.
For most gestational carriers, the birth of the baby is usually seen as the end of the journey. For the intended parents, the birth is just the beginning of an entire life. For everyone involved, the weeks leading up to the delivery, as well as the weeks that follow the birth, can be a stressful, and a very busy, exciting time.
It is hard to predict how everyone will feel, and whether or not the relationship will continue, until after the surrogacy is complete. For most, it is a very happy and joyous time, with all parties celebrating the birth of the baby, and moving on to a new and exciting chapter, Parenthood!
During the weeks leading up to the birth may be the time when the future is discussed. Issues like contact after birth and potential sibling projects are commonly a topic of discussion.
Many surrogates choose to pump breast milk for the surrogate babies they have carried. In other cases, the Intended mother herself may induce lactation, in order for her to breastfeed her baby. Pumping is a huge commitment, and not something that all carriers are interested in doing, although is a great gift to the baby. Its very important to discuss, and ensure that all parties are on the same page.
If intended parents aren’t interested in breastmilk, often surrogates will choose to donate their breast milk to organizations or individuals in need.
Most surrogacy arrangements go very well, and everything goes as planned, although some situations don’t go well, and the carrier and intended parents have a difficult time, either saying goodbye, or working through issues that cropped up during their journey. Occasionally, things do not go as expected, or end up back on track.
It’s so important to remember this- The gift is the gift, no matter what!
We always suggest having a Surrogates kids come to the hospital to meet/say goodbye to the baby, to ensure that the closure has occurred, and that she, and her children have been able to say goodbye.
Whenever a relationship ends/changes, it can be tough. With Gestational surrogacy, the focus goes from Surrogate to Baby, and for many Surrogates, that can leave a large void, and unfortunately it is when this void is felt, that we see Postpartum depression become an issue. Intended parents have their baby/babies, and are often very preoccupied with parenthood, and aren’t reaching out to their Surrogate in the way that the Surrogate may have thought would happen.
It is very important that counseling is available to all parties, if needed, to ensure that everyone is feeling their best, and working through any unresolved issues that they may have, resulting from the Surrogacy. We always suggest that counseling be put into post care expenses available to the Surrogate in case these issue arise.
Canadian Fertility Consultants
Canadian Fertility Consulting
For more information on the process, please email us at email@example.com OR call us at 613 439 8701
This week, our Surrogacy Blogger Heather posts about her transfer experience.
I could barely sleep. Did I have everything? Was I completely ready? The day had finally arrived. Transfer day!
I woke up early to an exciting surprise message- my amazing friend and surrogacy support worker would be coming with me to Toronto for my transfer. I knew this was a good sign that the day would go super well. I got my kids ready for school, dropped them off, got breakfast and a coffee and then we were off to drive to the fertility clinic.
I couldn’t have asked for a better transfer time. 12 pm meant I didn’t have to battle with rush hour traffic either way and got to drop off and pick up my kids, no need for my mom to come help out- bonus! I haven’t always been so lucky with appointments at the clinic so that worked out really well. After sailing the open highway and arriving in the parking garage the first hilarious incident of the day happened (yes there were a few), I decided my big SUV would DEFINITELY fit in an itty bitty spot in an underground parking garage. As I angled and backed up and angled and backed up a car pulled up that I thought was trying to get by. WHY WERE THEY PUTTING PRESSURE ON ME TO BACK UP FASTER, COULDN’T THEY SEE THE STRESS THEY WERE CAUSING *crunch* oops I hit my mirror. I looked up- sure enough it was my Intended Parents in the car, waiting patiently- not rushing me at all. Once I was finally parked and crawled like an idiot out of the passenger side of the car, we went upstairs and bought 1.5 litres of water (I needed a full bladder to help with the ultrasound), and then we went to check into the clinic.
Again, the day couldn’t have gone better, they were running on time, the doctor I absolutely adore who did my last successful transfer was there to do the transfer and the dads were both there and so excited (and maybe a little nervous).
Once I got changed and put my gown on, I managed to sneak in a quick massage in the waiting room (they have fabulous massage chairs!) and then it was time!
Great news! There were LOTS of embryos to choose from and in fact they each were able to transfer 1 10/10 quality embryo. This meant the odds of success and TWINS was good. One of the dads is a resident radiologist so he was able to explain everything we were seeing on the screen where they use ultrasound to guide a small catheter containing the embryos.
We got to see both of their transferred embryos on the screen, (they were pretty cute!). And then before we knew it the procedure was done. And I just had to wait a few minutes while the urge to pee consumed every thought I had.
After the procedure we went for lunch at a fun breakfast place by the clinic and then we went our separate ways. I was left with instructions to continue taking my medications and to go for a blood test on November 10th… but I’m hoping I get a positive result sooner with a home pregnancy test! Stay tuned.
For further information on Surrogacy, either working with one, or becoming one, please contact us as soon as possible for more information.
CFC’s staff can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org OR, by phone at 613 439 8701
Canadian Fertility Consulting
Canadian Fertility Consultants Surrogacy
Canadian Fertility Consultants staff have been working with Sacred Pregnancy, learning everything we can, to support our Surrogates, and Intended parents in the most sacred and beautiful way possible, as they move through the process of Sharing this most intimate, and amazing process together.
Recently, Angie Campeau our Surrogacy Support worker, and Leia Swanberg, our CEO, built a series of programs to support Intended Moms, who currently have Surrogates in place, as well as for our clients who are pregnant after years of Infertility.
The first program we are offering is a Blessingway, a Celebration for our Mammas to be. This will be a free event, offering mentorship, connection, support and encouragement within this women’s circle.
This first event is designed to introduce our clients to the Sacred Pregnancy way. This will be a four hour event, to include an array of opportunities to connect with each other, and themselves as they learn to release fears they may have about pregnancy, birth, and motherhood, while they are wrapped in a beautiful sisterhood.
Canadian Fertility Consultants will be developing/offering new programs in 2015, to support all of our clients. The topics to include are:
*Grief and Loss, How to find joy in the journey
*How to celebrate, even in the first trimester
*How to connect with your Surrogate pregnancy
*Pregnancy through Egg Donation
*As a Surrogate, how do I create a Sacred space during Labour/Delivery
*As a Surrogate, how do I connect with a pregnancy that isn’t mine
For further information on Canadian Fertility Consultants, The Sacred Pregnancy Movement, OR to learn more about Surrogacy, Egg Donation, or pregnancy after Infertility, please contact us at info@fertilityconsultants, OR by calling our office at 613 439 8701
Canadian Fertility consultants
Canadian Fertility Consulting
Click here to check out our video! Check out CFC’s Latest Video
This Summer CFC spent some time putting together some promotional videos, in order to share “Who we are” with others.
It was most certainly a Labour of Love. Canadian Fertility Consultants, and our staff want to ensure that all parties feel encouraged, supported, and protected both Legally, and of course emotionally.
We hope that you enjoy our videos, and share with them with those in your life who may not understand the process, or blessing that Family Building with Love is all about.
Thank you for watching, and if you are getting ready to take the first step, please email us at email@example.com OR by phone at 613 439 8701
Choosing the Right Egg Donor
Choosing the right Egg Donor to partner with to build your family is such a huge decision, and at Egg Helpers, we want to help you select the best donor possible.
There are many considerations to take into account when reviewing donor profiles, and making your selection. At Egg Helpers, we strive to make the process a simple one, by providing accurate, and update information on all aspects of the journey, from finding the clinic with the highest success rates, to selecting the best donor for you.
Should I Choose a Known, or Anonymous Donor?- This is a very personal decision, and we honour and respect whatever you decide. We can provide reading materials, studies, and even referrals to clients of Egg Helpers who have either gone the known or anonymous route. At Egg Helpers, you can choose to partner with a ‘known egg donor’ or an ‘anonymous egg donor.’ When choosing a known egg donor, you will have to define the involvement that you would like the egg donor to have in the child’s life. An ‘anonymous’ egg donor’s identity is never revealed to you, and a relationship is never formed.
Physical Attributes- Typically this is very important to intended parents. With a ‘known donor,’ you will be able to view photos or meet with the donor and evaluate if she is a good fit to you. If physical features are not important to you, then you have more options when searching our donor database.
Medical History- The fertility clinic which screens your chosen donor will verify, and confirm your egg donor’s medical history to ensure that she is a healthy candidate, and free from any genetic diseases.
Personality traits of the Donor- For some intended parents their donor’s personality traits are very important. If you plan on knowing your donor, you will know first hand. If you decide on an anonymous donor, Egg Helpers is happy to ask your donor questions that may provide you more insight into her personality.
Location of your clinic vs.Location of Donor- it is important to consider the location of a donor, both for cost purposes and ease of meeting the donor(if known). Our case managers will help you find the most suitable donor, based on location, and the other criteria that you have provided to us.
Getting Started with Egg Helpers- If you are interested in learning more about working with one of our amazing donors, then contact us at Egg Helpers to learn more. Our staff will abe happy to answer all of your questions about the process, and offer insights into what options are available to you. Egg donation is such an amazing family building option.
Contact us to get started by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting our site www.egghelpers.com
Canadian Fertility Consulting
Canadian Fertility Consultants
As I sit here in Canadian Fertility Consultatns Head office, at a desk that is fairly empty, it’s becoming clear to me that the day is finally here. It Moving Day!!!
Over the past year, I have been planning this move, planning our expansion to BC, in order to better serve our clients on the West Coast. It was a difficult decision, as over the past five years Canadian Fertility Consultants has grown roots in Ontario, and despite all of our challenges, including the Legal case that took over our lives between 2011-2013, this is where we grew!
Our new office is located on Vancouver Island, in beautiful Parksville. Scott, and I are so excited to be moving home, and to be welcoming Sarrie to the CFC, and EggHelpers team. Sarrie will be our West Coast Egg Donor and Surrogacy program assistant, and will be available to answer all of your questions regarding the Surrogacy and Egg Donor process, whether you are an Intended parent, Surrogate, or Egg Donor.
Scott and I are very excited to again call BC home, and look forward to developing new relationships with clinics out west. Currently 40% of our Surrogates live out West, and with that being said, 80% of our clients are using Fertility clinics in the US, or Ontario. We are hopeful that with this move, we will be able to open new doors for our clients, so that a more local option is available to them.
If you are a BC Surrogate, or Intended parent, past or present, we’d love to connect with you again, or have a coffee for the first time to share our programs, and services, OR just to catch up.
For more information on Canadian Fertility Consulting, please contact us by email at email@example.com OR by calling our offices at 613 439 8701. Your call will then be transferred to our BC office.
Canadian Fertility Consultants
Canadian Fertility Consulting
How can I find an Obstetrician to care for me during my Surrogate Pregnancy?
At CFC we are often asked “who’s the best OB in my area”, or “Do you know if Dr xxxx is Surrogate friendly?”
Once our Surrogates are pregnant, we often suggest asking their Fertility Dr. to help then find an Obstetrician in their area, who has experience working with Surrogates. Often, Gestational carriers have OB’s that they have worked with in the past who would be another great option for a care provider.
While most babies born in Canada are delivered by obstetricians, Surrogates do have other options, including Midwives, and family physicians. We always suggest that this is conversation that Intended parents and Surrogates have prior to entering into a Surrogacy agreement, to ensure that their is no misunderstanding.
What criteria should I use to choose my obstetrician?
Only you can decide which are the most important considerations for you. Keep in mind that you may be able to narrow your list of choices somewhat with a simple phone call. Here are some other things to consider:
•Your health history
Do you have any chronic illnesses – such as high blood pressure, epilepsy, heart disease, or diabetes – or previous complications that may require special care? If so, ask the doctors you’re considering what experience they have caring for patients like you, and consider whether you should be cared for by a perinatologist (a doctor who specializes in high-risk births).
If you’ve previously had a c-section, would you like to try to have a vaginal birth this time? In that case, you’ll want to make sure that both the provider and the hospital are supportive of vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).
•The doctor’s outlook
Find out the doctor’s attitude about issues that may be important to you, such as the routine use of interventions like IVs, continuous electronic fetal monitoring, and episiotomy. You can’t predict what your individual situation will require, but you can get an idea of the general approach to care and practice patterns from the doctor’s responses to these questions.
You may also want to determine the doctor’s feelings about having a doula or other support people besides your partner and Intended parents present during the labor and birth. Is the doctor supportive of natural childbirth, if that’s what you’re interested in?
Pregnancy and childbirth are exciting, but they can also be stressful. So the best healthcare partner is one you feel comfortable with and can communicate with easily. It helps to ask yourself questions like these:
*How comfortable do you feel with the doctor? Are you looking for a male or female OB
*Has the Dr. had experience with Surrogacy before?
*Do you find it easy to ask questions of the doctor?
*Does the doctor explain things clearly and completely?
*Does the doctor seem willing to communicate with Intended parents in the way you prefer- either answering their questions directly at appts, or by email, if your intended parents are outside of your area.
Surrogacy is such an exciting time for everyone, including the Surrogate, and Intended parents, however its very important to ensure that the care provider that you choose to work with is open to Surrogacy, and the needs of all the parties involved.
For further information on finding a Surrogate friendly OB in your area, or to answer any other questions about Surrogacy, please contact us by calling our office at 613 439 8701 Or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Canadian Fertility Consultants
Heather is a CFC Surrogate who will be Blogging about her Surrogacy Journey. Follow along as Heather shares the Highs, and Lows of her Surrogacy journey!
OK so, I’m a terrible blogger (what else is new) but in my defense… It’s been a bit of a wanting game. Have I mentioned I’m not well known for my patience?! It’s true I swear. But some things are worth waiting for and this journey is going to be incredible. So I passed my screening (yay!) And got through all the legal paperwork with my lawyers and the future fathers (intended parents). The clinic sent me my meds (hormones to prepare my body for this pregnancy) and now… Drumroll.. I’m waiting. Actually, everyone is waiting. For me. I finished a round of birth control pills and now I anxiously await the first day of my “cycle”. Hopefully it comes soon so we can get this show on the road. Any tips to make it show up? Plan a hot date? Wear some white pants? Haha essentially all I can do is wait. Hope to have some more updates soon!
For further information, please contact Our Canadian Fertility Consultants office, either in BC, or Ontario by calling 613 439 8701, OR by email at email@example.com. We are currently booking free consultations for those interested in learning more about our programs, and services.
After every Birth I have the pleasure of attending, I want to write about, however am often unsure of how to write about it, in a way that will honour those sacred months, weeks, days, or even moments that lead up to that pivotal moment where maiden becomes mother, and Surrogate is able to complete what started out as a beautiful gesture, and ended as the blessing of a family- completed, and built with Love.
In all Surrogacy journeys there are ups and downs, highs, and lows, however like the birth of our own children, once they are born, all is lost in those precious moments, cries of baby, and tears of joy.
Last night I had the pleasure of attending one of our Surrogate’s births.
Mandi was a week overdue, and of course everyone was on pins and needles waiting for this little one to make her appearance. Yesterday Mandi had another stretch and sweep, an NST, a Baby planning session, and a Biophysical. As the saying goes, make your plans, while God laughs. Well laugh he did!
By 600 pm I was on the phone with a less than comfortable Mandi, who wanted to chat, but wasn’t ready to go anywhere yet. We had our usual pj’s or stay dressed conversation, as we had had many nights in the past week, however this time was different.
By 830 we were on our way to the Hospital to check things out. As we drove, I called the Intended parents to tell them it was time to come, they would likely be meeting their daughter very soon. They were coming from Toronto, and so there was always the risk that they wouldn’t make it, but Mandi was amazing!!! When she was checked things were definitely moving in the right direction- It was go time.
I remember looking at this Surrogate, friend, Sister, and thinking WOW, She’s got this. The Birth was natural, and silent, aside from the panting, soft breathing, and pushing……..this went on for what seemed like hours.
Mom and Dad arrived in time, Mom got ready, into her shirt that Baby would slip nicely under, and it was time.
Mandi started pushing with all her might, as Mom and Dad looked on. Finally sweet baby A made her appearance, quietly, and beautifully in a dimly lit room with all who loved her.
It was a beautiful moment, one that I will cherish for many years to come.
Mandi, you did it!! With the strength of your Surrosisters that have come before you, you did it, and you were amazing!!!!!
For more information on Surrogacy, and our amazing Sisterhood, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org OR call us at 613 439 8701
Canadian Fertility Consultants