The Magic of Surrogacy

At Fertility Match, we’ve always believed that surrogacy is truly the journey of many and effects everyone it touches. The other day, one of our amazing Surrogate Mothers reached out to Lisa to share a beautiful moment.

The Magic of Surrogacy

“This. This is the magic of surrogacy.

Last night my daughter asked if she could snuggle me while we watched a movie after dinner. Of course I said yes! She was just laying there with me, delighted she could finally see and feel baby moving!

Her exact words: “mum this is special, a mom and dad wouldn’t have this baby unless you carried him in your belly. That would be sad because everyone should be able to have babies if they want them. Is this a miracle?”

Yes honey, it is! Women are strong and are capable of anything!

And then she fell asleep. What an incredible journey this is. A lesson in love that my daughter will not soon forget!”

Then, Surrogate S told us that her wonderful daughter tells baby good night every single night, until his Intended Parents are able to tell him themselves. Surrogacy is a beautiful journey not only for one family, but for many.

If you’re interested in experiencing the magic of surrogacy, please reach out to us today.

Surrogacy Frequently Asked Questions

We know Surrogacy can be confusing to women who are in the early stages of considering this life changing gift. We get so many similar questions, so we thought we would answer them in a blog post! If you have any other questions, feel free to get in touch with us. We’d be happy to speak to you about Surrogacy.

Will the child be genetically related to me?

No, the child will not be genetically related to you. At Fertility Match, we only work with Gestational Surrogates. In Gestational Surrogacy, the Intended Mother, or Egg Donor, undergoes an egg retrieval. Her eggs are then fertilized with the Intended Father’s sperm, or the sperm from a donor. The fertilized egg becomes an embryo. The Gestational Surrogate then undergoes the embryo transfer.

Do I get to choose to work with an OB, Midwife, or Doula?

Yes. By the 12th week of pregnancy, you will be released by the fertility clinic and will get to choose which kind of prenatal care you prefer. We ask you to tell us your preference when you are coming into the program, so we can match you with IP’s that are on board with your care and birth plan. We have you fill out a Surrogate application and learn about your preferences, so that we can select IP’s that would best support you in the pregnancy.

Can I be a Surrogate if I haven’t given birth?

One of the requirements in being a Surrogate is that you have had a least one child of your own. A fertility clinic will not screen you in as a Surrogate if these criteria is not met. At Fertility Match, we ask that you have had at least one pregnancy without complications. Because we want the best for you as the Surrogate and the IP’s baby, we need to see a history of a healthy pregnancy.

 Will I have to pay for my pregnancy-related expenses?

No, the Surrogacy journey is at no cost to you. You will be reimbursed for your pregnancy-related expenses up to $30,000. This can include things such as groceries, maternity clothes, lost wages for appointments, etc. Before the embryo transfer, you would be reimbursed for your travel expenses. The amounts may vary, depending on different pregnancy factors (twins, C-section, and any complications that may arise).

Will I see the children after the birth?

The IPs in our program are looking to work with a Surrogate who will be an extension of their family and be a special “aunt” to their children after the birth. It is up to you and the IPs to discuss what you feel comfortable with as contact after the birth. We also ask this question before matching you with IPs, so that the couple you are matched with has a similar expectation of contact after the birth.

Will I have to travel away from home?

We will discuss with you what your desires are for travel related to medical appointments. We understand that not all Surrogates are able to travel due to family commitments. We have Intended Parents from all over Canada, so it is your choice what your parameters are.

Do I get to choose the Intended Parents I carry for?

Absolutely. You can choose to work with a same sex couple, heterosexual couple, or a single man or woman. We have Intended Parents who require a Surrogate for different reasons, such as cancer survivors and those with infertility. We leave it up to you who you would like to work with.

Considering Surrogacy? Do you have any other questions? Click here to contact us and one of our Fertility Consultants would be happy to speak with you.

The Importance of Surrogate Support

The Surrogacy journey involves more than just the Surrogate and Intended Parents. Surrogacy is a family journey and it involves all those that are dearest to you. There are elements of the Surrogacy experience that can impact their lives and the concept of Surrogacy may be new to them. Partners and surrounding family and friends may have questions and concerns when they hear about your decision to explore Surrogacy. Their responses may surprise you – it may be confusing for them to first understand this life changing journey you have generously chosen to embark on.

At Fertility Match, we can help educate your friends, family, and/or spouse to ensure that you have a wonderful Surrogacy journey. Our Surrogacy Personal Support Program is run by Mike Casselman, husband of Fertility Match Co-Founder and 2x Surrogate Lisa Casselman. We truly believe that the best resource for the supports of our Surrogates is someone who has firsthand experience supporting a Surrogate.

Surrogacy is not a journey you embark on alone. It will set a wonderful example for your children, inspire your spouse with your selflessness, and have a lifelong impact on your loved ones. Mike will sit down with your support(s) to discuss what is involved in supporting a Surrogate, and answer any questions they may have about Surrogacy. During the journey, he is also available to speak to them if any concerns arise.

In Mike’s words: “My goal is to make sure anyone in the role of support for a Surrogate in our program understands just how important their role is and how much a part of the journey and story they are. I understand this from a partner point of view and can guide a Surrogates’ support system through the journey, answering questions at every stage.”

   Reach out to us today to learn more about our Surrogacy program and how you can make families a reality for deserving people.

Breaking the Stigma

Read about Co-Founder and 2x Surrogate Lisa’s first experience at a fertility clinic.

I was completely caught off guard the first time I walked into a fertility clinic for cycle monitoring.  My thoughts were that I would be walking into an empty, quiet waiting room where a lab tech was waiting for my arrival.  I was extremely short sighted. 

I did walk into a very quiet waiting room — eerily so.  The waiting room was completely packed.  Couples holding each other’s hands, individuals trying to look occupied by their phone or an old issue of Canadian Living Magazine. I was frozen where I stood, looking around, processing what I was seeing.  These people were here because of the struggle with infertility.  

I knew and understood that infertility was an issue.  I was a Surrogate, matched with a couple who at the time were 8 years into their journey to a child. 

So, if I knew about this, why was I stranded in a crowded waiting room so surprised? Truthfully, I didn’t fully understand how many people infertility affected.  1 in 6 couples.  That’s a sobering statistic.  Why didn’t I know?  Simply, the stigma that surrounds it. 

The reality of those all those people at the clinic with infertility, is that they were not alone.  The stigma of being labelled as infertile is not something anyone wants.  While there should be no shame in having difficulties conceiving it is still experienced because infertility has only recently become a topic discussed in the news or social media. 

The only way to reduce the stigma attached to infertility is to encourage the conversation and to support those who are facing difficulties conceiving. 

As I started writing this blog I wondered, do I have the right to have an opinion about infertility?  After all, I’m one of those women who conceived without issue.  So easily, that I carried babies for others.  No one struggling with infertility wants to hear from me and how easy I had it.  

I considered that if the stigma around infertility needs to change, then maybe those of us who don’t struggle should make the first move to be the change. We can choose to be advocates for others.  We can help to change laws for fertility treatments and financial compensation for surrogates or decide to be surrogates or egg donors.  We can do more simple things as well.  We can stop asking friends or family those dreaded questions “When are you going to start a family?” Or “Do you not want kids?” 

All in all, infertility is a topic that shouldn’t be swept under the rug, but rather, one that we should all be aware of. Let’s work on educating ourselves and our society on the prevalence and challenges that couples and individuals go through while trying to build a family. The struggles that individuals and families face regarding infertility should be part of a journey to other ways of creating life. We hope that at Fertility Match, we can create the necessary stepping stones to destigmatize infertility, and create a discussion about third party reproduction.  

Our dream at Fertlity Match is to connect couples and individuals in finding the right Surrogate or Egg Donor, and to make families a reality. Choose Fertility Match as your Fertility Consulting Agency, and we promise to make your journey to building a family a wonderful and positive experience.

Why Become A Fertility Match Surrogate?

Infertility in Canada

Infertility rates are on the rise. Approximately 15% of Canadian families struggle with infertility each year, a ten percent increase since the 1980’s. Surrogacy bridges this infertility gap and gives couples a viable option.

There are many reasons for this rise in infertility and the need for surrogates. Many cancer survivors are rendered infertile due to treatments. Various illnesses and medical complications require women to have partial or total hysterectomies. Conditions such as PCOS cause reproductive organs to not function properly. Complications from previous births can result in infertility and some women are be born without uteruses. Additionally gay men who want to be fathers have to turn to surrogacy.

 

Why be a Surrogate?

By becoming a surrogate you get to give one of the greatest gifts and make a positive social change. You will be helping caring people become loving parents and help to create a family that otherwise would not exist. Surrogacy gives you a an everlasting sense of pride and accomplishment as well as a lifelong bond and connection with the family you help create.

Why Choose Fertility Match?

Fertility Match is unique in that it’s run by women who have been in your shoes. Lisa Casselman has been a surrogate twice, giving birth to two sets of twins, and and Liz Ellwood used a surrogate and egg donor to have her daughter after surviving cancer. Fertility Match was founded with the mission to create a positive experience for everyone involved in the fertility process. Fertility Match is Canada’s only low volume customized fertility consulting agency.  We work directly with all our surrogates, egg donors, and intended parents to ensure a personalized and positive experience. The Fertility Match Surrogates and Intended Parents are expertly screened to ensure that your desired journey and the intended parents desired journey match up. We want you and your intended parents to have a good connection and analyze personality profiles to ensure it. The Fertility Match difference is that our focus is on you and your experience.

The 5 Steps of Surrogacy

The 5 Steps of Surrogacy

To begin your surrogacy journey with Fertility Match you will first need to contact us by email at info@fertilitymatch.ca or through our online contact form. You will then be contacted by a Fertility Match founder with more information, and after that the 5 following steps will begin.

Step 1 – Application and Fertility Match Evaluation. You will first fill out and submit an application form so that we can learn more about you. The application form will ask about your lifestyle, pregnancy, medical and work history. It is crucial that you complete the application thoroughly and honestly so that we can get to know you and match you with the appropriate Intended Parents. At this point we ask for relevant Surrogacy information such as medical records from all previous pregnancy. You will also be asked for a medical pre-screening which will include bloodwork, a pelvic ultrasound, and a psychological assessment. This can take a while to gather so you may want to call you your OB/GYN and request the records.

Step 2 – Matching with Intended Parents. Once you are accepted into the Fertility Match family, we discuss information about possible Intended Parents as we build your custom match. This tailored approach is based on aligned values as well as personal, medical, psychological criteria. When everyone feels right with the selection, we arrange a match meeting to discuss all expectations during your surrogacy engagement. This is one of the most important and reaffirming steps in the journey together establishing an incredible connection between you as the Surrogate and your hopeful Intended Parents.

Step 3 – Medical Work Up. Once you are matched, the medical screening process and legal process will take place. You will be meeting at the IVF Clinic with the Intended Parents physician who will speak with you in detail and perform a Surrogacy information assessment. The work up varies from clinic to clinic but often includes:

  • Vaginal ultrasound-a probe is inserted into the vagina enabling the technician to look at the uterus for polyps, scar tissue, and lining thickness.
  • Physical and pap smear.
  • Hysteroscopy-a procedure where a small camera is placed in the uterus to look at the uterine cavity
  • Medical instruction of the IVF cycle, injections, medication use and embryo transfer.

Step 4 – The IVF Cycle. The IVF Nurse will give you full instructions and details about the surrogate medications needed, the medical protocol any restrictions, and expectations during the Surrogate process.

In preparation for your uterus to receive embryos created by the couple you will:

  • Likely be asked to take estrogen and progesterone in either path, pill, suppository or injection form, You may be asked to take a birth control pill to regulate and sync your menstrual cycle with the intended mom or egg donor.
  • Have regular blood draws and ultrasounds to monitor the progress of the cycle
  • Have an embryo transfer where a small catheter is inserted into your vagina and through to your uterus. The embryos will be placed through the catheter and into the uterus for anticipated implantation.

Step 5 – Pregnancy and Delivery. This pregnancy may be different from your own pregnancies in that it is conceived via IVF and requires a little more early attention.

  • You may be asked to have your blood drawn, ultrasounds or other procedures far more regularly.
  • There is a possibility of multiples that may require additional office visits, bed rest, or other monitoring.
  • This pregnancy is shared with the loving Intended Parents and therefore requires ongoing communication about the developing fetus, your health status, needs for support, or other matters.
  • You will be participating in surrogate mother support groups and events to assure all of your questions are answered.
  • Delivery is a very special time for all involved and we will work on creating a birth plan that will attempt to meet everyone’s needs.

We would love to discuss any questions that you may have on the process of Surrogacy. We’re eager to speak with you to discuss your interest, eligibility, and hopes for the perfect Surrogacy journey. Contact us through our Contact Request form or at info@fertilitymatch.ca, and we will get back to you shortly.

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