Surrogacy in Canada – Law, Process & Cost
Canada is an important destination for international intended parents who wish to have a baby via surrogate motherhood overseas, including gay couples and single males. In Canada, all kinds of family structures are welcomed, irrespective of their sexual orientation and marital status.
Conditions and legal requirements
Contrary to what happens in the United States, there is only one Canadian province where surrogacy arrangements are illegal, and that is Quebec, where the law establishes that every surrogacy agreement shall be considered invalid.
In the rest of the country, Canadian regulations are favorable to surrogacy arrangements for both Canadian citizens and foreign patients. As explained earlier, it is available for all family types, including single parents, opposite-sex couples, and same-sex couples.
However, despite the openness of the Canadian policies that govern surrogacy, it is not a common destination country for international intended parents due to the conditions and requirements set by the Canadian law, which turn the recruitment of gestational carriers into a tough process.
This major drawback is due to the fact that surrogacy is allowed, but as long as it is done on a 100% altruistic basis, in accordance with the Assisted Human Reproduction Act (AHRA), i.e. the act governing surrogacy in Canada. This means that gestational carriers cannot be paid any sort of financial compensation in exchange for carrying someone else’s child.
Intended parents must reimburse all the expenses incurred by the gestational carrier during the pregnancy, though. Such expenses are explained in the section hereunder.
Reimbursement of expenses
Intended parents are responsible for the gestational carriers expenses incurred during pregnancy. In other words, they have to reimburse any expenses occasioned by the surrogate pregnancy process itself, including:
- Prenatal vitamins
- Maternity clothing
- Travel expenses incurred to attend medical visits
- Medications needed throughout the process and the pregnancy
- Compensation for lost wages
Gestational carriers have to provide proof of payment for every expense incurred. The sum paid by intended parents as a reimbursement of expenses is limited to CAD $22,000.
In short, the main limitations established by the Canadian law concerning surrogacy arrangements are:
- No person or party involved is allowed to pay a monetary sum to the gestational carrier. Offering or advertising it is considered a criminal offence.
- No person involved as an intermediary in a surrogacy arrangement shall accept payments of any kind, or advertise such service.
- No woman under 21 years of age can become a gestational carrier. Promoting, recommending, or assisting a woman under this age in becoming so is forbidden.
If a breach of law of these characteristics occurs (e.g. entering into a commercial surrogacy arrangement) in a surrogacy process, the one or ones involves may be subject to 10 years imprisonment, and a fine of up to CAD $500,000.
As in the United States of America, children born in Canada are granted the Canadian citizenship by the simple fact of being born in Canadian territory.
This accelerates the process for returning home in the case of British intended parents who have a child via surrogacy in Canada, as they can have a clearance visa stamped on their Canadian passport to enter the UK.
In spite of this, British parents have to apply for a Parental Order within 6 months following birth, and no earlier, anyway. Otherwise, the surrogate and her husband, if any, will be the legal parents of the child under UK law.
In the case of commissioning parents from the USA, we only recommend them to travel to Canada if at least one parent is providing his or her gametes—if the child is not genetically linked to one of them, he or she will not obtain the US citizenship.
In Canada, the average cost of surrogacy procedures is lower than in the United States. To be precise, prices can range from CAD $57,000 to $133,000 approximately. Intended parents are recommended to have an additional sum of money available for covering potential mishaps, though.
The more or less affordable price of the technique in Canada if compared to the USA is not only due to altruism, but also to the fact that the Canadian healthcare system is publicly funded, and covers the medical expenses derived from pregnancy. It does not cover, however, those incurred during infertility treatments.
Pros and cons
Knowing this, we can summarize the advantages of choosing Canada as your destination for surrogacy abroad in the following points:
- Affordable prices in comparison with other popular destinations that offer similar conditions.
- The healthcare system is publicly funded.
- Legal parentage under Canadian law is determined by a court ruling.
- All children born in Canada become Canadian citizens.
- All family types are welcomed.
On the other hand, one should keep in mind that the main inconvenient of this destination is the scarcity of gestational carriers, which causes waiting lists to be even longer, especially if we compare them to those of other countries where surrogacy is not 100% altruistic.
This is the reason why Canada is not so popular internationally in spite of offering legal guarantees for all family types.
If you are interested in Canada and wish to delve deeper into this destination, we recommend that you complete our intelligent form with the help of Lucy, our virtual assistant. She will answer all your questions regarding what the surrogacy companies that can help you in this country.