A ‘gestational carrier’ is a woman who carries a baby on behalf of the intended parent(s). The gestational surrogate is not genetically related to the baby. This is different from ‘traditional surrogacy’, where the woman uses her own egg to produce the embryo for the intended parent(s).
A gestational carrier might be indicated when the intended parent(s) cannot carry a baby. This could be because of a scarred or absent uterus, a history of recurrent miscarriages, or if the intended mother has serious health concerns that might make pregnancy dangerous. LGBTQIA+ families might also choose a gestational carrier or surrogate if the intended parent(s) lack the required egg or uterus to form a pregnancy.
For a gestational carrier pregnancy, the intended parents produce embryos through an IVF cycle which are then transferred into the gestational carrier’s uterus. The resulting baby will have the genetic makeup determined by the sperm and the egg and will not be related to the gestational carrier.
The gestational carrier or surrogate can be a family member, a friend, or acquaintance. Canadian law outlined in the Assisted Human Reproduction Act stipulates that people in Canada cannot be paid for sperm, eggs or surrogacy services. This means that the person must be altruistic and only receipt-able expenses may be reimbursed. Legal advice from a firm specializing in third party reproduction is recommended.
If you are considering building your family with a gestational carrier or surrogate, please ask to see one of our third-party reproduction coordinators.
Here is some additional information written by our PCRM doctors that you might find useful:
- Huffington Post – Fertility options for every LGBTQ family out there
- Huffington Post – Paying sperm and egg donors will help LGBTQ couples build families
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the criteria for a gestational carrier?
- 21 – 45 years old
- Normal reproductive history, at least 1 normal birth
- No serious medical or psychological conditions
- Normal infectious diseases screening
- Body Mass Index (BMI) < 40
- Surrogacy agreement and counselling