International Surrogacy – Canadian Fertility Consulting fields many calls each week from Intended parents wanting to know if we have information on Surrogacy abroad, as mainstream media outlets are covering stories of Canadians traveling to places like India, Thailand, and now Mexico to pursue Gestational surrogacy.
At CFC, we decided to do some research into these new Surrogacy Destinations (International Surrogacy) . During our research we looked at the following factors
*Success rates in these countries
*Cost/Length of stay for ivf treatments, as well as to travel for delivery and post birth stay
*Legal Process of getting back to Canada with your child/ren
*Ethical concerns of Surrogacy abroad
During our research it became very clear that there was nothing clear about the International Surrogacy operations. We contacted many clinics, as well as agencies who provide overseas Surrogacy programs to get information, and couldn’t get the clear picture that we needed to be able to provide a complete picture to clients, however we did learn a great deal about the processes abroad.
We asked these overseas agencies, and clinics numerous times for success rates of fertility clinics, as well as how, and if those results were tracked by any reporting agencies. In Canada, and the US, independent reporting agencies are used to ensure clinic transparency, and accurate success rates. In countries such as India, Mexico and Thailand, these reporting agencies aren’t in place.
The length of stay, if Intended parents were cycling on their own averaged two weeks, and for those using an egg donor it was far less- on average 3-5 days. It also appears that shipping embryos from Canada is an option. When it comes time to attend the delivery/pick up the baby, that is where we had a lot of conflicting information- some agencies stating two weeks, while other agencies located in the same country gave us estimates of six-eight weeks. The legal costs post birth as well never became clear, nor did the post birth legal process. This was concerning to us, as the agencies weren’t comfortable with our speaking to their “in house” lawyer, unless we were referring clients immediately.
The cost for ivf was very low, on average seemed to be 1/3 of the cost of ivf, and surrogacy in Canada which I know would be a large draw to clients, as well as aggressive treatments- transferring a larger number of embryos than Dr’s in Canada, and in some cases transferring embryos to more than one surrogate at a time.
The legal process is still somewhat of a mystery to me, as I wasn’t able to speak directly to a lawyer, however was given many assurances that Intended parents travelling home to Canada, whether from Thailand, India, or Mexico wasn’t a legal obstacle at all.
As I spoke to the many agencies, and clinics abroad, my ethical concerns really faded. Many of the myths I had bought into were dispelled. Surrogates in other locations, have the same motivation as the surrogates I work with here in Canada- to help change the lives of another couple, by giving life to their baby/ies. Surrogates abroad were still looking for a connection with intended parents- whether by weekly skype calls, or emails. The surrogates don’t always stay at the clinics throughout the pregnancy, as many have families to care for, which I was glad to hear, as mainstream media often reports that these surrogates are “kept” women, as opposed to women continuing to care for their families, and maintaining their daily routines.
In conclusion, I would say that for intended parents pursuing donor egg ivf for themselves, there are definitely many interesting options abroad, from a cost perspective. I would also say that with the laws in many of these countries being fluid, meaning unsettled, I’m not sure that I would recommend intended parents go this route- yet!!!
I am hopeful that Canadians who are travelling overseas, will come back to Canada, and share their experiences with us. At this point we have no first hand knowledge, and have only been able to gain information through phone calls, emails, and connections we have made with US agencies offering support to those travelling abroad.
For further information on travelling abroad to pursue to ivf, donor egg, and/or surrogacy, please contact our offices by calling us at 613 439 8701 or by emailing us at email@example.com