Nfld. & Labrador

Surrogate mothers, egg donors recruited in N.L.

A company that helps men and women fulfil their dream of having a child is recruiting egg donors and surrogates in Newfoundland, and some women tell CBC they are interested.

Local women say they are interested in helping others build a family

From left: Krista Brake, a three-time surrogate from Deer Lake; Nathan Chan, managing director of Proud Fertility; and potential surrogates Katie Humby and Jackie Clarke during a recent event in St. John's. (Submitted photo)

Fertility consultant Nathan Chan longs to be a dad. He's spent six years trying to have a child through surrogacy, only to face disappointment.

Now, he is back and forth to Newfoundland as part of his work recruiting surrogate mothers and egg donors for Proud Fertility Limited, a group that promotes everyone's right to be a parent.

"I've been here three times in the last few months," he told the St. John's Morning Show on Tuesday, saying people who are reluctant to attend his information sessions sometimes call him privately.

There's a lot of interest but people are very wary and skeptical, as they should be, because they need to find out all the information," said Chan. "I don't want them to sign up right away. I want them to be informed."

Chan said he tells women they have to know why they want to be a surrogate or an egg donor and who they are doing it for.

"One of the first questions is like, 'Oh, is it difficult to give up this baby, afterwards?'  This is not your baby, and you are not giving up something; you are giving a gift to someone."

'Basically a human right'

Two women told the St. John's Morning Show the idea appeals to them.

"This is the best gift you could give anybody, the gift of life, so that's what I want to do," said Jackie Clarke, who has an 11-year-old son.

Katie Humby had a baby four months ago. She's open to having another, as a surrogate.

"I had a fantastic birth. It was easy for me, so that brought me to the thought that maybe I could do this for somebody else," Humby said.

Nathan Chan would love to be a parent and has tried several times using multiple donors and surrogates. He's uncertain if he will try again. (Submitted photo)

Chan said Proud Fertility works with gays, single men and women, cancer survivors and heterosexual couples.

"There is absolutely nothing ashamed about being infertile," Chan said. "This opportunity for you to grow a family to fulfil your family dream is basically a human right." 

Using a surrogate can be expensive. "You should budget $70,000 to $100,000." said Chan. "You need to look at it as if you can't win the lottery if you don't buy a ticket. That's the mindset you need to have."

And there's no money in it for women who donate, said Chan.  "You cannot sell your eggs. You cannot rent your womb. These are not things that we want in Canada."

As for his own experience, Chan said he has used "multiple donors and multiple surrogates" in Canada and India.

"To date I do not have a child. I had an early stage miscarriage with one surrogate and also a stillborn with another surrogate. So I know the emotional toll."

He hasn't decided if he will try again.

With files from Krissy Holmes, St. John's Morning Show