facebook_pixel
10 Steps to Becoming a Fertility Match Egg Donor

10 Steps to Becoming a Fertility Match Egg Donor

Ten Steps to Donating Eggs in Canada

Ready to donate your eggs but not sure what to expect? At Fertility Match, we help demystify the process for Donating Eggs in Canada with our 3 part series on the egg donation process. First, let’s take a look at what Egg Donors should expect overall from beginning to end.

1. Initial Assessment: After contacting us at info@fertilitymatch.ca an initial assessment will then be conducted by a Fertility Match Program Coordinator. This could take place in person or over the phone. This initial assessment for is to ensure that you are the right fit for the program

2. Online Application: An online application will then be sent to you if the initial assessment is successful.

3. Overview Call: Following a successful application, we will schedule an overview call. During this call, the  process for Donating Eggs in Canada will be covered in further detail and any issues or questions will be addressed.

4. Match with Intended Parent(s): At this point your profile will be created and you will be matched with a waiting Intended Parent.

5.  Psychosocial Evaluation: The Psychosocial evaluation is the next step in the process for Donating Eggs in Canada. This can be done over the phone.

6. Physician Appointment: You will meet with a Physician once you have been matched. They will explain the medical protocol, do a physical exam and blood tests.

7. Independent Legal Representation: Independent legal representation will then be provided for you to go over all the points in the contract and to ensure that you feel knowledgeable and comfortable moving forward. The Intended Parent will pay all legal fees incurred by their Egg Donor.

8. Donor Cycle: The donor cycle usually then begins after your next menstrual period. Approximately 21 days after your period you will start a series of medications, which you will take until just before the egg retrieval. While taking these medications you will visit a fertility center to monitor your progress and to ensure that your ovaries are responding to the medication. These appointments may take place daily or every other day for a short period of time and the appointments do not last long.

9. Egg Retrieval: You are then ready for Egg Retrieval. The Egg Retrieval appointment is usually 3 hours in length, as it requires twilight sedation. This does not result in the person becoming unconscious but will sedate them so you should ensure you have a safe way home. The physician then uses a vaginal ultrasound probe to guide a small needle through the vaginal wall to reach the ovaries and retrieve the mature eggs.

10. Post Procedure: Following the procedure you may experience some fatigue or cramping and so should plan to spend the remainder of the day at home. The following day you should be able to resume light to normal activities but should refrain from any strenuous physical activity until the physician gives you clearance.

If you have any questions about Donating Eggs in Canada or are interested in becoming an Egg Donor and want to help couples seeking to make their dreams of a family a reality please contact us at info@fertilitymatch.ca or through our contact form. Be sure to like us on Facebook and check back for the next two parts in our Egg Donation in Canada series.

Are you Eligible to be an Egg Donor?

Are you Eligible to be an Egg Donor?

Are you Eligible to be an Egg Donor?

Fertility Match seeks to ensure that all of our prospective Egg Donors meet the expectations of the Intended Parents. Additionally, the health and safety of the Egg Donor is of the utmost priority and therefore, in order to become an Egg Donor for Fertility Match, there are several requirements you must meet:

  • Be Canadian Citizen and currently living in Canada
  • Have active provincial health insurance
  • Be between the ages of 21 and 32
  • Be a non smoker and not use recreational drugs
  • Be willing to undergo a police background check
  • Have not gotten tattoos or piercings in the last six months
  • Have not travelled to ZIKA infected areas in the last two months
  • Be in good health and have regular menstrual cycles
  • Not have any significant genetic or hereditary illnesses
  • Be willing to undergo psychological and medical assessments and willing to provide medical history
  • Sexual partners will need to undergo infectious disease screening at a fertility centre or local blood lab
  • Have no serious history of psychological issues
  • Have a healthy weight to height proportion preferably with a BMI under 35
  • Be willing to travel to the closest fertility clinic, lawyer and doctor appointments
  • Be willing to travel to the fertility clinic used by the intended parents for the egg retrieval
  • Be willing to take fertility medications and injections
  • Not have had more than five previous egg retrieval cycles

Though this list may seem long each of these requirements is put in place to ensure the best outcomes and experiences for everyone involved in the process. If you have any questions about Egg Donation in Canada or the reimbursable expenses contact us at info@fertilitymatch.ca or fill out our contact form.

Egg Donation in Canada: What is Legal?

Egg Donation in Canada: What is Legal?

Egg Donation in Canada: What is Legal?

Egg Donation is legal in Canada but there are some restrictions. The main one being that Egg Donors cannot be directly compensated for their donation. Canadian legislation allows only for altruistic Egg Donation; women donate their eggs because they want to help couples struggling with infertility. These women are then reimbursed for the expenses related to their donation. Expenses that you would incur regardless of the donation such as your rent and car insurance are not reimbursable but reimbursable expenses can include:

  • Groceries and prepared food (ex. grocery receipts leading up to, during and after the donation, meals, beverages)
  • Gym/fitness memberships
  • Note taking for missed classes
  • Housekeeping
  • Child or pet care
  • Massage, chiropractic, and foot care
  • Travel related to medical appointments
  • Lost wages

If you decide to become an Egg Donor the reimbursable expenses will be outlined in your legal contract. Each Fertility Match Donor is provided with independent legal counsel to ensure that they are fully aware of the benefits of Egg Donation and the commitment required.

If you have any questions about Egg Donation in Canada or the reimbursable expenses contact us at info@fertilitymatch.ca or fill out our contact page.

 

What Should a Surrogate Mother Look For in Potential Intended Parents?

What Should a Surrogate Mother Look For in Potential Intended Parents?

Surrogacy is a very personal choice. The reasons why a woman chooses to be a Surrogate Mother vary. I chose to be a Surrogate Mother to help another woman who couldn’t conceive become a mother. When starting out on your journey as a Surrogate Mother, take time to think about who you are meant to help. Is it a single parent, a heterosexual couple or a same sex couple?

Once you decide who are wanting to help, you will begin to “date” potential Intended Parents. This is a very important part of the process. Just like dating a potential romantic interest , you quickly learn what you are looking for in this relationship.

Are you looking for someone who is wanting the same amount of contact as you are? For me, this wasn’t my birth story. This story belongs to the Intended Parents I worked with and to their babies. I was just the person who was lucky enough to birth them into this world. I wanted Intended Parents who shared that outlook. My Intended Parents were at all my appointments and were in the delivery room. I also wanted to make sure that parents cut the cords of their babies as my husband and I had done for ours.

How do you feel about selective reduction or termination of pregnancy due to birth defects in the fetus? This is a very important subject and one that makes you look inward. I needed to find Intended Parents who would take any number of children that resulted from this Surrogacy. I was not in favour of selective reduction for multiples. With that being said, I felt that I could not decide what another person could live with if it was determined that the fetus had a birth defect. In that case, I was willing to terminate if the Intended Parents chose.

Intended Parents are looking for certain things when it comes to their Surrogate Mother too. They will be dating you as much as you are dating them. I have spoken to couples who said their Surrogate was to only eat organic foods, or would refrain from exercising. I even spoke with someone who said they didn’t want their Surrogate to have an epidural during birth. And while those aren’t the people I chose to work with, there is a Surrogate out there for them that will work with their choices. It’s all very personal.

The main thing for me in my journeys was the relationship I built with my Intended Parents. I did not know them ahead of time. We were complete strangers who took the time to build an honest and open friendship. I wanted to feel like we could talk about anything. My Intended Parents and I became support systems for each other through the ups and downs of fertility treatments while fulfilling their dreams to be parents.

Lisa: Watching our First Surrogate and Intended Parents Meet

Lisa: Watching our First Surrogate and Intended Parents Meet

Watching First Surrogate and Intended Parents Meet under Fertility Match

When I was a Surrogate Mother, one of the most exciting things was meeting my Intended Parents for the first time. We were already matched and had emailed and chatted on the phone numerous times. But meeting in person was truly like a first date. Everyone is nervous to meet the other party. The reality of the situation sets in. The Fertility Match journey is beginning.

I was honoured to be part of this excitement recently. Our wonderful intended parents T & J met their surrogate L and her family for dinner and I was there with my family.

I can only describe this as a large (and loud) celebration. Like old friends coming together. There were lots of hugs and laughter. This is the joy of a Fertility Match.

This is the moment where and intended parent and Surrogate Mother bond begins. With this journey our warm, loving surrogate mother L wants her family fully involved. Her children are very excited for their mother to be the change for other people. L is not only giving an wonderful gift to T & J, but she’s being an incredible role model for her children. As I sat there watching T & J chat with L and her husband, I knew that their journey together is going to be an incredible experience for everyone.

This is our dream at Fertility Match.  To make this connection for couples in finding the right Surrogate or Egg Donor and changing lives in a positive way. It brings tears to my eyes even just thinking about what the future holds for so many intended parents who choose Fertility Match to help them with their journey.  Call us anytime if you have questions about our service. We’d love to hear from you.

-Lisa
Co-Founder of Fertility Match Canada

Ottawa Citizen: Baby Mamas: Pair launch a ‘fertility consultancy’

Ottawa Citizen: Baby Mamas: Pair launch a ‘fertility consultancy’

This is an article published by the Ottawa Citizen about Fertility Match Canada launch and our focus on making a difference in the fertility industry.

Ottawa Citizen, May 26, 2017
Wanted: women willing to give their time and their bodies to help other women become mothers — for purely altruistic reasons.

Ottawa’s Liz Ellwood and Lisa Casselman have opened up a new fertility consultancy [Fertility Match Canada] to help infertile couples find egg donors and surrogates. Fertility Match is one of fewer than 10 such agencies across Canada. And they all face increasing demands for egg donors and surrogates in a seller’s market.

Ellwood, 34, and Casselman, 41, have seen both sides of the surrogacy equation. Ellwood was diagnosed with cervical cancer at 24. Despite freezing eggs at the McGill Reproductive Centre in Montreal, they were not viable. She eventually decided to find an egg donor and a surrogate mother. She now has a five-year-old daughter.

Ellwood met Casselman while looking for a surrogate. Casselman was already carrying a baby for another couple, but the two remained friends. Casselman is the mother of eight — she already had three children and a stepchild and became a surrogate twice after that, carrying two sets of twins for separate couples.

“We’re looking to find some amazing people and guide them through this journey,” Ellwood says.

There are few statistics, but demand for donors and surrogates in Canada is much higher than supply. Between 2014 and 2015, the number of embryo transfers made to a surrogate increased by 23 per cent from 413 cycles to 533, according to the Canadian Fertility & Andrology Society.

Egg donation and surrogacy are legal in Canada, but donors and surrogates can’t charge for their services, although they can be compensated for their expenses, such as medical costs and pregnancy-related expenses, such as clothing, food and exercise classes.

Under the Assisted Human Reproduction Act, agencies can’t charge for matching would-be parents with egg donors and  surrogates. Federal law prohibits paying a woman to be a surrogate, or advertising such a payment. It also prohibits paying someone “to arrange for the services of a surrogate mother” or accepting such a payment, or advertising of arranging these kinds of services.

It’s in stark contrast to the U.S., where egg donors and surrogates are paid, though those amounts vary widely.

Under the law in this country, Canadian donors and surrogates are helping infertile couples for altruistic reasons.

“No one really understands what ‘arranging’ services means, as it is not defined under the act,” says fertility lawyer Sherry Levitan. “Most of the agencies interpret it as matching surrogates with intended parents, but that isn’t my view.”

At the same time, Canada is becoming an increasingly attractive place for foreign couples seeking a surrogate.

Around the world, doors are closing on couples seeking third-party reproduction, including in Thailand, Vietnam, India and Mexico, Levitan says.

In India, for example, surrogates protested after the government announced it would ban foreign couples from hiring Indian surrogates. The Indian government had argued that hiring out wombs for rent was exploiting poor women. Last year, India drafted a law that would permit only infertile couples who have been married for at least five years to seek a surrogate, who must be a close relative.

For couples around the world, the U.S. and Canada are still options. In fact, Canada is a destination for would-be foreign parents. Overseas agencies point out to clients that the costs of prenatal care and the birth are covered under Canada’s health-care system. The exchange rate makes it even more attractive to couples in western Europe, Asia and the U.S., Levitan says.

It is widely expected that Health Canada will soon change the regulations in the Assisted Human Reproduction Act that deal with paying egg donors and surrogates. But as it stands, for most intended parents, the first step is usually word-of-mouth. “You never know whose neighbour’s cousin might want to be a surrogate,” Levitan says.

She believes that agencies are necessary to protect all of the parties. “A new intended parent working independently without an agency is vulnerable to experienced surrogates who may be trying to avoid some of the regulations and safeguards put into place by agencies,” she says.

“There is so much information and support that is required, and it is perfectly legal to charge for — and advertise — those services.”

Ellwood and Casselman say what they’re offering isn’t matching-for-money, but rather help in navigating a complicated system to find a donor or a surrogate who best meets the needs of every intended family. The agency screens both would-be parents and would-be donors and surrogates rigorously, Ellwood says.

“We want people to feel valued. We don’t want them to feel alone.”

Carolynn Dubé, executive director of Fertility Matters Canada, which promotes awareness and equal access to fertility treatments, says about one in six couples experience infertility. In about 30 per cent of the cases, it is attributed to the man, in 40 per cent of the cases it’s the woman, and 20 per cent it is a mixture of both. The reason is unclear in 10 per cent of cases.

“Some people will get IVF and move on and live happily every after. Some people will have uterine cancer at 20 and never be able to carry a baby,” Dubé says. “There are people who are interested in donating because they have a gift they can give someone else. It’s an incredible gift.”

The total cost of having a baby through surrogacy is between $60,000 and $100,000, depending on whether there is a need for an egg donation and fertility clinic costs, Ellwood says. Couples suffering from infertility are often mourning their own inability to have a child. Often, fertility treatments have failed. Would-be parents want to have complete trust in the person who will carry their child.

And there are a lot of ways for trust to fail, before and during the pregnancy and after the birth. In one case reported in 2013, a Spanish couple took their premature twins home, leaving the surrogate to pay a $58,000 hospital bill.

When Ellwood first started looking for an egg donor, she went to a U.S. agency. The first potential donor got pregnant with her own child, there were problems with the second donor’s hormone levels and there were questions about the blood tests of the third donor. Ellwood started looking in Canada. The first potential egg donor simply disappeared. She was successful with the fifth donor.

“People wouldn’t call us. You never knew what was happening. No matter what you did, it was out of your hands. It was awful,” she says. “We really lucked out with our surrogate. She really hung in there for us.”

Casselman had her own woes as a surrogate. She says she had to go to court to recover some of her expenses from one set of intended parents. She and Ellwood say now they thought there had to be a better way to do it, to make sure both sides of the agreement know exactly what they’re in for.

“We said, ‘We should start an agency [Fertility Match Canada] to help both parties have a better experience,’” said Ellwood. “It’s a bit like a courtship. It’s an important decision.”

There are a number of issues that both sides have to agree on, Casselman says: how many embryos will be transferred; whether or not there will be a “selective reduction” if the surrogate is carrying multiple embryos. They have to agree on whether amniocentesis (prenatal testing that can determine abnormalities as well as sex of the fetus) will be done, and whether they agree to terminate the pregnancy if the results indicate a chromosome abnormality such as Down syndrome.

The parties also have to agree on what kind of relationship the donor and surrogate will have with the family after the birth — whether to stay in contact, have no contact, or allow contact if there are crucial questions about the baby’s medical profile.

Casselman has wanted to be a surrogate since she was eight and her aunt’s premature baby died. The idea was reinforced when she was a teenager and learned about surrogacy. It’s best for a woman considering surrogacy to complete her own family first, she says. Her entire family gathered around the table before she made the final decision to be a surrgoate. Her children always knew that the baby would not be coming to their house to stay.

“I just wanted a great story to tell. We want every couple, every surrogate, to say this was a great experience. It’s very important to do this the right way, and do it with love and caring.”

Levitan likes what she has heard from Ellwood and Casselman so far. “They are aiming at the highest standard,”she says. “Not every agency is that accessible and transparent. If they keep to those ideals, I will be delighted.”

Fertility Match will be holding a webinar on egg donation on June 6 and one on surrogacy on June 7. For more information, visit fertilitymatch.ca/webinars.

 

Glossary of terms

Third-party reproduction: Donor-assisted reproduction in which DNA or surrogacy is provided by someone who is not an the intended parent

Intended parents: People who become the legal parents of a child born through surrogacy

Surrogate: A woman who carries a baby with the intention of surrendering the child to someone else after birth

Gestational surrogate: A woman who carries a child to whom she is not genetically related

Traditional surrogate: A woman who is the genetic mother of the baby she carries, but who intends to relinquish custody to the baby’s intended parents at birth

Interspousal donations: One partner in a lesbian relationship who carries a baby that is genetically linked to the other partner. IVF is a necessary part of this process

In Vitro Fertilization or IVF: The process of fertilization by extracting eggs, retrieving a sperm sample, and manually combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish. The resulting embryo or embryos are then transferred to the uterus

Pre-implantation genetic screening or PGS: Identifying embryos containing chromosomal abnormalities that result in IVF failure, miscarriage or babies born with conditions such as Down Syndrome

Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis or PGD: Evaluating embryos gathered through the IVF process for genetic disorders before they are implanted. In most cases, one or both partners have been genetically screened and identified to be carriers of disorders such as cystic fibrosis an hemophilia

Selective reduction: Abortion of one or more, but not all, of the embryos in a pregnancy with multiple embryos

Oocoyte banking: Egg freezing for women who have to delay childbearing for medical or social reasons

 

Pin It on Pinterest