Surrogacy in Canada Has Increased 400% in 10 Years: More Facts

  • Surrogacy is mentioned in the Bible. In the story of Abraham and Sarah in Genesis, Sarah could not bear children so she gave her servant Hagar to Abraham so she could have his children.
  • The increase in surrogacy has been dramatic in Canada, with one estimate being that it has increased by 400% in the last decade.
  • The main reason for the growing interest in surrogacy is infertility. In 1984, it was estimated that 5% of Canadian couples had infertility problems. That number has now grown to 15% of couples facing infertility challenges.
  • The trend of couples delaying pregnancy – resulting in infertility problems - is driving the increase in surrogacy, as well as gay couples who are choosing to become parents.
  • In Canada, it is legal to use another person’s eggs, sperms or uterus to bring a child into the world – but it is not legal to pay someone for this. Surrogacy in Canada is therefore referred to as altruistic surrogacy, as opposed to the commercial surrogacy found in some US states and other countrie
  • While paying surrogates or egg donors is illegal in Canada, it is legal to pay certain expenses for a surrogate (though the law does not clearly stipulate what is a permissible expense). The average expenses paid by intended parents to a surrogate are approximately $20,000.
  • Celebrities who have engaged surrogate mothers to become parents include: Elton John, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jimmy Fallon, Nicole Kidman, Robert De Niro, Kelsey Grammer and Tyra Banks.
  • One of the most prolific surrogate mothers anywhere is Carole Horlock of Britain. She has been dubbed “the best uterus in the world.” At 49, she has had 16 surrogate babies for grateful intended parents. She considers herself “just a carrier” of the babies and says she doesn’t bond with them when they’re in her womb.  However, due to age and pregnancy-associated health concerns she recently announced that her days as a surrogate are over.
  • One of the most famous surrogacy legal battles is the “Baby M” case. It was the first American court ruling on the validity of surrogacy. In 1984 Mary Beth Whitehead was engaged as a surrogate by William and Elizabeth Stern in New Jersey. Mary Beth was inseminated with William’s sperm, making her a traditional as opposed to gestational surrogate (far more common today). Though the parties had a surrogacy contract, when baby Melissa was born in 1986 Mary Beth refused to give her up. The legal battle that ensued eventually gave the Sterns custody. The case inspired an ABC miniseries, “Baby M.” 
  • Studies show that most surrogate mothers don’t have difficulty relinquishing a baby and a majority feel empowered by the surrogacy experience. However, some surrogates express disappointment with treatment from intended parents (e.g. refusal to maintain promised contact that might be as simple as sending photos of the child now and then).
  • Studies of the impact of surrogacy on mother-child relationships and children’s psychological adjustment at age seven found no differences from a conventional pregnancy experience.

For more about surrogacy, visit Having Our Baby.