My Story

By Joanne Wright

Why I chose to be a Gestational Carrier… or…
YES… Surrogacy in Canada Happens all the Time!!!!

Having completed our family, and knowing the joy that children can bring, it seemed so sad, that many couples, through no fault of their own were unable to experience this fulfillment. Technology has come a long way. Couples can now have a biological child through a third party.

I married my wonderful husband Roland in 1979, and we will be celebrating our 29th anniversary this year. We also have three great children. Robyn (1982), Adam (1984), and Kevin (1987). And we added a new member of our family this year. Our first grandchild was born. Cameron Ashton Roland is currently the light of our lives…

Even before we had children, I had heard the word “surrogate” and knew that this was something I could do…..but filed it away for future reference.

After our family was complete, I went on to look at this more seriously.

My only option at that time was to travel to the United States and meet with an agency. Within two months they called and had a couple for me in Ontario. I was thrilled, excited and scared.

We met in July 1987 and hit it off right away. They were a fabulous couple who already had a child, but for medical reasons were advised not to attempt any more pregnancies.

We all, for the most part understood the “logistics” of surrogacy, but not the enormity of the task that we would be taking on, or the ground breaking that we would have
to do.

We also decided to work with an IVF clinic in Michigan, who were fabulous, and very accommodating. I was going to be a gestational surrogate. I would have no biological link to the baby. They would be using the Intended Mother’s egg, and the Intended Father’s sperm.

We all had to go through psychological testing as well as find lawyers. I have to tell you, there were not any lawyers and counsellors jumping up and down for our business 21 years ago. I called on my family lawyer, who was our real estate lawyer. When I look back, he probably thought I was on crack when I told him what I wanted to undertake. But he agreed, nonetheless, and the Intended Parents also located a wonderful lawyer willing to take on this monumental task.

Finally, we cross our T’s and dot our I’s, and it is time for the retrieval and transfer. We decided to transfer 4 embryos. Now the wait begins. After a very long 10 days, I pee on a stick, and it is positive right away. I called the couple and woke them up, screaming, …”I’m Pregnant”….. I am sure they thought there was a mad woman on the other end, but they were thrilled.

Our first ultrasound showed 3 possibly four sacs. AAHHHHHH…..This is probably the first time I had ever considered multiples. I was in shock at the thought of carrying four babies.

God works in mysterious ways, and our next ultrasound showed that the embryos has naturally reduced to twins. We all breathed a huge sigh of relief.

After a fairly uneventful pregnancy, their son and daughter were born. I cannot even begin to describe the feelings I had. I had such a wonderful sense of accomplishment and pride. I never at any time felt that these babies were any part of me. They belonged to their parents. This couple now had their family. We talked intermittently after the birth, but ultimately they moved and we lost touch with each other, which was ok. Most surrogate arrangements tend to have a “Christmas Card” relationship, where they keep in touch once or twice a year.

I never really had any intentions of doing this again, until three years later, a friend introduced me to a couple, that also had a child, but again, for medical reasons couldn’t attempt another pregnancy. I thought I would just help them with information etc, but after I heard their story, and how desperately they wanted another child, how could I deny them?

We had a fabulous relationship, and I think because I had done this before they didn’t have any fears that couples typically do during this process…the most important being…”Will she give us our baby”…

We again transferred four embryos. I did a Home pregnancy test on Mother’s Day, and it was POSITIVE! At our first ultrasound I was disappointed to learn that I was only carrying one baby. Almost like I didn’t do a good enough job. The couple, of course was thrilled. And even more so, when their son was born. We had a wonderful birth, with a very supportive hospital staff. But I still had the feeling of “my best friend just had a new baby”. No attachment feelings at all…I was only the “babysitter”. I was “sad”, when all was said and done, but nothing out of the ordinary.

After I completed my second surrogacy, I got involved with a number of professionals involved in surrogacy. Lawyers, clinic personnel, counsellors etc., all trying to put some regulation into surrogacy.

During this time, we found quite surprisingly that people were getting the run-around. Yes, they needed a surrogate but clinics were not able to help match. As well, potential surrogates would call, but no one quite knew what to do with them.

At that time, I was a stay at home mom, so I offered to be the “contact” person that everyone could call. I answered questions, provided support, and put couples in touch with possible surrogates. And the rest, as they say is history.

For this reason, I decided to take my passion a step further, and created Canadian Surrogacy Options Inc., which is a liaison service as well as providing education
for couples needing a surrogate carrier, and for women contemplating becoming
a surrogate.

I absolutely love what I have been doing for the past 16 years. It has been a been daunting at times, but it certainly has been challenging. Unfortunately there probably isn’t a story that I haven’t heard, and it still breaks my heart every time I do hear someone’s personal struggle with infertility.

Surrogate parenting is a wonderful family construction option for many families. It is my hope that people can realize that their dream of having children can be accomplished with a positive surrogacy experience.

I hope that I have helped people along the way with personal experience and a common sense approach to fulfill their quest to …”Make a couple… a Family…”

My Story Part 2…