The Best Things About Being a Single Dad (By Choice)

The Best Things About Being a Single Dad (By Choice)

I’ll admit it: I had no idea what I was getting into back in 2009, when I decided to stop looking for the perfect partner to build a family with and start pursuing the possibility of parenthood on my own.

I had no idea how long it was going to take —8 years!

I had no idea how many times my heart was going to break along the way.

I had no idea how much love I could feel for another person, or how everything in my world would be turned upside down but that it was all going to be so, so, worth it.

 

Best Things About Being a Single Dad _ Cosleeping Skin to Skin

 

I also had no idea how hard being a parent was going to be. Don’t get me wrong, people warned me—you know how they do. But the challenges of parenting are something you truly must experience to appreciate.

What I did know way back then was that I wanted to be a father. I wanted to love and nurture a little person in the way that only parents can do, and so I set out on my journey.

My little girl is now six months old and it’s been the most amazing year of my life. Being a single dad means I carry the weight alone, but there are so many awesome things about being a single dad, too!

 

 

I get to call all the shots.

I absolutely love that when it comes to what is in my child’s best interest, I get to decide. There’s no one to argue with, no differences of opinion, no agree to disagree. This can be applied to almost every decision parent need to make whether it’s the best way to discipline the child, bottle or breast, what religion they will be raised in. As the only parent, it’s up to me. I do the research, I listen to my instincts, sometimes I ask my mom and friends for advice, and ultimately, I decide.

Take co-sleeping, for example. I see so many parents in Facebook groups frustrated because they feel that their baby should sleep with them, but their partner disagrees. So many of these people are afraid they’re going to destroy their marriage by making a decision they feel to be in the absolute best interest of their child. Not only do I get to do what I know is best for my baby without fighting, tension, or inconsistency, there’s a lot more space in the bed for co-sleeping because it’s just the two of us.

Best Things About Being a Single Dad _ Co-sleeping is Awesome

I’m the favourite parent.

My couple friends are always talking about how their children prefer one parent over the other. One parent gets the bulk of the snuggles and smiles and the other one can’t get the baby to stop crying no matter what they do.

I love being the primary caregiver of my daughter. We already have a tangible bond and I can’t wait to see how it grows as she does. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in this alone. I have friends and family who help us and who my daughter is bonding with but there is something so amazing about knowing that all the best smiles are for me! I’ll always be her favorite parent.

 

Best Things About Being a Single Dad _ Traveling Canada

I get to take her everywhere.

It’s not that only single parents can travel with their child but I know I get to a lot more than my married friends. Most dads go on a business trip or even vacation and leave the kids behind. Although it stems from necessity (I don’t have anyone to look after my daughter when I am traveling), I really love that taking her everywhere I go! We’ve already been all over Canada together. I can’t wait to eventually show her different countries and cultures around the world.

Because it is just the two of us, travel is also a lot more affordable!

 

Best Things About Being a Single Dad _ Traveling with Baby

Single dads get way too much recognition!

People are always telling me how amazing it is that I am doing this on my own. They also have a tendency to give me a little more slack when I am not perfect. My female friends with babies are always stressed out about being judged and I’m over here wondering why everything thinks it’s something special that I change most of the diapers and do the night feeding.

While it’s a perk for me, it makes me sad. In this day and age, moms and dads shouldn’t be held to different standards. Single moms do what I am doing all the time, and no one gives them a break or extra kudos for their efforts. Many of the surrogates that come to Proud Fertility are single moms. They care for their children often with very little or no help from the other parent. They work and support their families AND they undergo fertility treatments and then pregnancy because they want to do something special and make the world a better place. I am just blown away by the tenacity and strength I witness daily.

I wish the kind of acknowledgement single dads get was applied to single moms, too!

 

Best Things About Being a Single Dad _ Single Dad Through Surrogacy in Canada

I love being a father even more than I knew I would.

I’ve relished every milestone and although I whine to my friends about the 3 am feeds, I cherish every second I spend with her. I know there will be challenges. I know that we will experience unforeseen difficulties, that I haven’t even thought to worry about. I also know that I will face them head on and always do whatever it takes to put my daughter first.

 

Are you ready to learn more about becoming a parent through surrogacy or egg donation?

Filling out an Intended Parent Interest Form is all it takes to get started.

5 Things I Didn’t Know About IVF When I Became an Egg Donor

5 Things I Didn’t Know About IVF When I Became an Egg Donor

It’s Not as Easy as Giving Up Your Eggs

The first steps include finding a donor agency, filling out a profile, multiple and varied medical testing, the collection of genetic history, paperwork and a psycho-social evaluation.   These first stepping-stones on your egg donation journey are necessary to ensure you are fully informed and consenting to the donation and use of your own genetic material.  Finding the right donor agency is also crucial.  The agency should be experienced, compassionate, and place a high value on open communication and support.  You should NEVER be asked to pay out-of-pocket costs for any required testing and should be considered a red flag during the agency-choosing process.

 

You Have to be “Chosen” to Become an Egg Donor

Surprise!  Eggs aren’t just donated and kept on ice. Potential egg donors ‘sign-up’ with a donor agency, who then provides Intended parents with many profiles to review. Ultimately, they select the one they feel is the best fit for them. Only when it’s a confirmed match, does the egg donation process intensify, including medications to prepare the reproductive system for egg removal.

 

The Risks of Becoming an Egg Donor

With the advances and safety of modern medicine, egg donation retrieval should have no effect on a donor’s future decisions about their own reproductive health or desire to become pregnant.

During the preparation for the egg retrieval, common complaints are feeling bloated and a distinct lack of energy. Your body is working overtime to produce the necessary eggs, so those symptoms are to be expected. Another risk of egg donation is Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) which can cause dehydration, diarrhea, pain, nausea and vomiting.   Symptoms on the milder end of the OHSS spectrum are easily manageable, with more serious symptoms requiring a hospital visit. Approximately 14% of donors may require hospitalization, which is comparable to rates in pregnant and non-pregnant women.

 

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The Medical Process of Egg Donation Explained

In order to donate your eggs, a 10-12 day self-injection protocol is a typical expectation.  The hormone injections stimulate the body into creating more eggs than are normally produced within a reproductive cycle.  Bloodwork and ultrasounds are commonly required.  The follicle growth is monitored by ultrasound and when the growth is sufficient, surgery is used to retrieve the eggs.  A thin needle is inserted through the vagina wall and into the ovaries in order to remove the eggs.  Some women do report tiredness and menstrual-like cramps, but otherwise, recovery is quick and easy.

 

Before I Became an Egg Donor I Had No Idea How Expensive it is for Intended Parents

The cost! As someone who would never have the need to use IVF personally, I was taken aback at the financial burdens intended parents face. In Canada, Traditional IVF can be as much as $10,000 to $15,000 per cycle – with many intended parents requiring more than one cycle. Easily the amount required for a vehicle, post-secondary education, or down payment on a home.  Having this dollar figure in mind, allowed me to empathize even further with my intended parent’s journey. This wasn’t an impulsive choice, nor an outrageous, whimsical dream. This was a deep-seated desire that they worked diligently to achieve. This was a sacrifice to obtain. They were ready, prepared and determined to love and bring their child into fruition, at any expense. They were already amazing parents I would hope they would be.

 

Ready to learn more about becoming an Egg Donor?

Complete an Egg Donor Interest Form and we will be in touch!

Are you ready to learn more about becoming a parent through surrogacy or egg donation?

Filling out an Intended Parent Interest Form is all it takes to get started.

Things You Should Never Say to an Egg Donor

Things You Should Never Say to an Egg Donor

Being an egg donor often comes with family, friends and complete strangers having preconceived ideas, notions, and stigmas around what an egg donor and egg donation is. As sensitive as some of these people may try to be, there are many who seem to not understand how tactless or offensive their remarks are. It’s easy to see why many egg donors bond together in their shared experience, as sometimes even our loved ones fall short on words of support or understanding during such a journey. Although each person you disclose to will be individual in their reaction or opinion, there are certainly some things that shouldn’t be asked or said.

 

What If You Get Cancer?

Although egg donation is not without its own defined risks, there is no evidence to support that egg donation is the cause or correlated to cancer.  Donors are required to complete thorough medical screening and are fully informed of all potential risks throughout the process.   To imply that a donor has not contemplated and weighed these disadvantages carefully is negating their ability to provide informed consent and their own bodily autonomy. Not only is the use of the ‘c-word’ exaggerated not based in fact, it’s also an extreme overreaction. Care and concern for your loved one are understandable, but please use tact when discussing potential risks or health-related worries.

 

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How Much Are You Getting Paid to Donate Your Eggs?

In Canada, egg donation is altruistic. Although you are fairly compensated for out-of-pocket costs in relation to things such as medications, travel, loss of pay and other related expenses, you are reimbursed and not “paid” for your donation. Regardless of how the reimbursement works, egg donors donate for a wide variety of reasons, the least of which is financial.  Some wish to be the reason someone is able to begin a family. Some wish to give back to the world in a large way. Others have reasons that are quite personal or private. Unless a donor offers to share information in regard to financial reimbursement or reasons for donation, it’s an impolite inquiry at best and an outright invasion of privacy at worst.

 

Ugh – Isn’t the World Overpopulated as Is?

And if it isn’t the ‘overpopulation’ argument, it’s often, “but there are so many children that need to be adopted.”   These reasonings are simplistic, short-sighted and offensive to the individuals involved in an egg donation/surrogacy journey.  Adoption, although a valued and successful option for many people, is not without its own challenges.  Cost, timelines, and invasive scrutiny are just a few of the obstacles intended parents face.  Any challenges are then magnified for single parents by choice, LGBTQ+ folks, or otherwise marginalized peoples.   Advances in reproductive health and technologies have made it possible for many different choices and routes to the same final destination: parenthood!  As family and friends, we should love, trust and support our loved ones to make the decision that is the best fit for them and their lives.  As strangers, we should mind our own business.

 

But How Can You Just Give Away Your Own Flesh And Blood?

Many questions asked are genuinely from a place of interest or curiosity, but the way in which we form these questions can cause offense or can be perceived as judgmental or shaming of the individual.  Again, an egg donor does not come to the decision to donate eggs on a whim.  It is a choice that is arrived at through careful contemplation, research, inquiry and soul-searching.  To insinuate that a donor is being callous with their own offspring or child is both very harmful and unfair.   Eggs are not thought of or perceived as a child.  They’re one half of the equation in the creation of a much-desired baby.  Egg donors often have the opportunity to form bonds and/or a relationship with the intended parents, and to share in news of the outcome of their generous gift.  Giving the gift of family is far from heartless, cold or uncaring, so please don’t imply otherwise.

 

Well, That’s Just Strange…

While egg donation and surrogacy may not be the “normal” route to a child and family, no one should ever be made to feel like their life choices are wrong, abnormal or deviant, when they’re far from harmful.  Comments expressing such only serve to further the stigma, shame and implied judgment around egg donors and donations.  It may not be the path of choice for you in your life, but never should you make another person, particularly a loved one, feel as though their choices aren’t valid or supported.  If egg donation or donors are a foreign concept in your world, use this opportunity to learn more about a subject previously unknown to you.  Politely ask questions and be sure to center the donor in the conversation – their choices and experiences are the only ones important in the conversation, and your ability to listen and empathize will further strengthen your relationship with the donor.  The use of open-ended questions and statements prevent the unintentional implications of shaming or judging and keep in mind that the more these taboo subjects are discussed and understood, the more progress we make in normalizing the various paths to parenthood and the creation of family.

 

Ready to learn more about becoming an Egg Donor?

Complete an Egg Donor Interest Form and we will be in touch!

Are you ready to learn more about becoming a parent through surrogacy or egg donation?

Filling out an Intended Parent Interest Form is all it takes to get started.

Best Books for Introducing Your Child to Egg Donation

Best Books for Introducing Your Child to Egg Donation

We already know how reading to your child can set them up for success; exercising their brains, developing language skills, creating a bond, building concentration, loving learning, and many more benefits.   It just makes sense to use the opportunity to introduce a number of different topics for knowledge, including egg donation.

 

A Tiny Itsy Bitsy Gift of Life: An Egg Donor Story

This children’s book uses a family of rabbits to introduce and educate about egg donation in an easily relatable and uncomplicated fashion.   The author, Carmen Martinez-Jover, crafts a cute story, particularly for young children.   This book is perfect for introducing the basics to such topics as egg donation and infertility.

The Pea That Was Me: An Egg Donation Story

Are you worried about how to talk with your child about their egg donor?  Not sure how to start or how to explain?  This wonderful little gem puts into words, the exceptional and amazing way your baby came to be, making it a useful addition for an intended parent’s library.  Aimed at ages 3-5, The Pea that was Me was written by Kim Kluger-Bell, a psychotherapist and reproductive specialist, to encourage a positive message for your child about their egg donor and family beginnings.

 

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The Family Book

Todd Parr, the author, celebrates uniqueness in this fun, bright story.  He emphasizes that families come in many different sizes, shapes, colours and although very different, all are special and full of love.  This book is great for guiding a young child in questioning their own family and world.  So whether your family is single-parent-by-choice, has two moms or dads, is quite busy or quiet, has many or few, this book is an enjoyable way to encourage family bonding while embracing diversity.

 

It Takes Love (and Some Other Stuff) to Make a Baby

L.L.Bird uses a two-mom family to explain the vocabulary in what it takes to make a baby.  Words such as “ovaries”, “uterus”, “egg” and “sperm” are introduced and defined in the context of the creation of their family.  This a great read for slightly older children, able to understand and learn about the more complex concepts around IVF.

 

The Twin Kangaroo Treasure Hunt: A Gay Parenting Story

Another children’s story by Carmen Martinez-Jover, this book explains egg donation and surrogacy via a gay parenting journey.  The terms “egg donor” and “surrogate” are introduced for children able to comprehend, and the tale uses two kangaroos who use egg donors for their journey to fatherhood and twins!   An uncomplicated and loving way to explain a complicated and emotional experience.

 

There are so Many Reasons to Read to Your Child!

No matter which books you choose to read to your child, choose to read.  The benefits are massive and the potential for your child’s growth and understanding of the world around them is well documented.  It encourages special time with your child and allows you to nurture your loving bond.

Are you ready to learn more about becoming a parent through surrogacy or egg donation?

Filling out an Intended Parent Interest Form is all it takes to get started.

Ready to learn more about becoming an Egg Donor?

Complete an Egg Donor Interest Form and we will be in touch!

Becoming a Surrogate:  Am I Qualified?     

Becoming a Surrogate:  Am I Qualified?     

Curious About Becoming A Surrogate?

There are many varied and valid reasons to choose to become a gestational surrogate.  Your reason or reasons will be just as unique as you are.  While it would be amazing to be able to accept every kind-hearted and giving woman that inquires, there are some standards to meet in order to be approved for a surrogacy journey.

 

Do I Need to Have Children to Become a Surrogate?

For surrogacy, it is required that the potential surrogate mother has been pregnant and given birth, at least once, whether vaginally or by belly birth (c-section). Although it is true that each pregnancy is different,  It is of value to be knowledgeable about how you personally experience pregnancy and birth.  You should truly be fully informed and understanding of what you are committing to as a gestational surrogate, on an emotional, physical and spiritual level.

 

Do I Need a Psycho-Social Evaluation to Become a Surrogate?

Every potential surrogate receives a referral for psycho-social evaluation by a psychologist.  Although it sounds complicated, the evaluation really consists of a conversation regarding the surrogate’s life, family and friends, and beliefs held around the surrogacy; an assessment of the woman’s mental health and social support and connections.  A surrogacy journey is a serious commitment and for the safety and health of everyone involved, an evaluation of their well being is a small but important step.

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Medical Screening for Surrogacy

In order to become a surrogate mother, it is required that you complete a number of medical tests to ensure your physical wellness.  This is a combination of blood work such as a complete blood count, glucose, and other similar tests.  Other procedures, such as an hysterosonograph, may be conducted to further understand the potential surrogate’s health, specifically within the reproductive organs.  These investigations are completed to form a full picture of the woman’s physical health, to ensure the greatest odds of a successful transfer, pregnancy, and birth.

 

 

The Most Important Qualification for Becoming a Gestational Surrogate: An Altruistic Heart

Becoming a surrogate, for any reason, is an admirable and generous gift beyond compare.  You’re helping give the gift of family.  It’s a life-changing, emotionally-charged experience for everyone involved, and creates lifelong relationships for many gestational surrogates and their intended parents.  But being a surrogate is not a paycheque.  You will be reimbursed for pregnancy-related expenses, but otherwise, you are not compensated financially for committing to the surrogacy.  In Canada, it’s considered altruistic, and regardless of your personal reasons for choosing to become a surrogate, ultimately, you recognize that this decision is done with selfless and compassionate intentions.

 

 

What Do I Not Need?

As a gestational surrogate, you do NOT need the following: an IQ admired among the Mensa elite, the body of a supermodel, flawless skin, a winning smile, or any other superficial characteristic defined by today’s pop culture beauty standards.  Your genetic gifts don’t factor into the surrogacy equation; therefore your strong familial chin or other perceived “flaws” don’t make you ineligible for surrogacy, they simply and beautifully combine to create you.  What does matter is the generosity and capacity of your being. Your kindheartedness, empathy, selflessness, and compassion are what’s important and give back to the world more than just a smile could.

Have you been considering carrying a child for someone who can't?

Complete a Surrogacy Interest Form and our team will walk you through the process of becoming a Gestational Surrogate.

Becoming a Gestational Surrogate: No Eggs Required!

Becoming a Gestational Surrogate: No Eggs Required!

Canadian Surrogacy

By Canadian law, gestational surrogacy is legal and altruistic.  It’s a selfless opportunity to give a gift unlike any other. You would allow the use of your body to help support the growth and development of a baby, for people who would otherwise be unable to have a child.  A gestational surrogate consents to having an embryo transferred into her body, the desired result being a healthy pregnancy and child.  The baby born has no genetic connection to the surrogate mother, which means….

Eggs Not Required

To be a gestational surrogate, your genetic material (aka your “eggies”) are not required at all!   Although you will generously provide the baby with a safe and warm environment in which to develop and would ultimately birth the child, you would not be biologically related.  Instead, the intended parents would choose to use their own eggs, if available, or would chose an egg donor to assist them on their surrogacy journey.

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Why Choose to Be a Surrogate Then?

Choosing to be a gestational surrogate is a very individual decision and surrogates choose the journey for many different reasons.  We asked surrogates for their reasons if they chose to share, and here’s what they said:

  • The Gift of Family. “My brother was a single gay man, in a time when neither was supported. I’m doing this to honor the family he never had. “
  • One Last Time. “My husband and I know that we don’t want to extend our family.  We’re happy and balanced.  But I loved being pregnant.  I loved the changes and want to experience that once more.”
  • A Rose By Any Other Name. “I feel like my IP’s are my extended family. We chose each other and have embarked on a path together.  We fully plan to continue our friendship beyond the birth and share news of our lives.”
  • A Sisterhood. “My surrogate sisters have been some of the kindest,  most courageous and giving women I’ve ever met.  Because of this shared, extraordinary choice, we now have connected in a way no one else would understand.”

Reasons vary with every unique surrogate that has dedicated themselves to this journey, but Canadian altruistic surrogacy is most definitely rooted in the heart.

 

 

Have you been considering carrying a child for someone who can't?

Complete a Surrogacy Interest Form and our team will walk you through the process of becoming a Gestational Surrogate.

5 Reasons Your Surrogacy Should Include Fertility Acupuncture

5 Reasons Your Surrogacy Should Include Fertility Acupuncture

Traditional Chinese medicine (acupuncture) is a system of complementary medicine that involves using needles in the skin and tissues to dispel pain and to alleviate mental, physical and emotional conditions. Treatments have been proven to have many benefits and are even useful for fertility, which is why surrogates swear by it! Nathan Chan, Managing Director of Proud Fertility, had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Ann Zee, with the Holistic Institute of Health and Fertility, about the benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and why you should be having treatments 4-6 months prior to pregnancy.

Benefits of Acupuncture For Surrogate Pregnancy

For women that experience immune problems that are inhospitable to pregnancy, acupuncture, combined with herbs and healthy nutrition, may help strengthen and bring balance back to the immune system.

IVF Compatible Treatments

Acupuncture has been shown to increase blood flow to various body parts, including to the all-important uterus. This supports the body in allowing for a plentiful lining in the uterus, prior to embryo transfer.

Beta-endorphins

Treatments have been successful in treating pain by stimulating beta-endorphins within the body. Beta-endorphins, in turn, help impact hormones in the reproductive system, including FSH, LH, and hCG – hormones that aid in ovulation and fertility.

Stress Relief

Reduction in stress is another benefit of acupuncture therapy. Stress hormones have the ability to wreak havoc on the body and menstrual cycle, and the stress levels surrounding fertility concerns can be comparable to those of a grave diagnosis. Emotional care should be a main focus throughout the process.

Surrogate Pregnancy Health Benefits

Therapy can provide many benefits even after conception, including increased blood flow as previously mentioned, de-stressing and invigorating the uterus, and boosting many body systems.  All these factors assist in supporting and sustaining a pregnancy and decreases chances of a miscarriage.

 

 

 

 

Have you been considering carrying a child for someone who can't?

Complete a Surrogacy Interest Form and our team will walk you through the process of becoming a Gestational Surrogate.

Postpartum Reflections

Postpartum Reflections

I was fully prepared to come home from the hospital without a baby; my friends and family, however, were not.

The days following giving birth to my surro-baby continued on as normal. There were birthday parties to be had, school, and kids afterschool activities. I was stuck in this after birth limbo- life had to go on, but how could it? I had a sore bottom, huge, tender breasts, and hormones like a roller coaster ride. Was this what I had expected? To be left alone to deal with all these postpartum norms? Since I had no baby to take care of, and I was perfectly okay with that, then what else could there be to support me through?

The first thing people are concerned about when learning I was having a baby as a surrogate mother, is how I could handle not bringing home the baby. That part, for me, was never an issue, as I went on this journey with that being the end goal. I was prepared and happy to give my Intended Parents their precious baby. I spent months reassuring my friends and family I would be completely fine with it. What I should have been doing is making sure they would be fine with ME being fine.

I should have had more conversations about how life would be difficult in other ways, and what I would need that didn’t include worry over my emotions.

I needed companionship; I needed wholesome meals and coffee breaks. I needed people to spend time with my kids so I wouldn’t feel guilty about staying in bed all day. I needed check-ins about how life was after the baby, and not how I was dealing with not having a baby.

And on the days I wasn’t feeling all that fine, I needed it to be okay that I wasn’t. I needed to be told that I didn’t have to be to be so strong. I didn’t need to hear with a knowing nod- “Oh I was expecting this- she’s not as ok with this as she says she is”.

Because it wasn’t about that- it was about the fact that my body still had given birth, and even though the baby wasn’t around, I still had to physically recover.

And to be even more honest, I had grown used to the attention over the pregnancy. Everyone I knew was excited for us all, and couldn’t wait to hear the news and how it all would go.  Then, the baby was born, and just like that- it was all done.  Did I expect anything different? I didn’t know what to expect and that’s the thing, none of us did.

But the days went on, and my body healed gradually. I had a new found gratitude for everything that I could do again now that I wasn’t pregnant or caring for a newborn. Life was so different postpartum without a baby!

Now it’s been a few months and life has gone back to normal as if the surrogacy has never happened. It’s such a surreal feeling; almost like it was a dream. The only thing I would change would be to have had more conversations about what I might need after the baby was born, what postpartum might look like for me.

 

Have you been considering carrying a child for someone who can't?

Complete a Surrogacy Interest Form and our team will walk you through the process of becoming a Gestational Surrogate.

Are you ready to learn more about becoming a parent through surrogacy or egg donation?

Filling out an Intended Parent Interest Form is all it takes to get started.

Chatter in the Canopy: The Truth About Surrogacy and HIV

Chatter in the Canopy: The Truth About Surrogacy and HIV

A beautiful submission from one of our Intended Parents.

It’s early morning, and I am on my balcony looking out into the tree canopy. The parrots and cockatoos greet with morning song. I realize that if I pause for a moment, I can hear the song of far more birds than I have ever seen, the countless times I have sat on this balcony. Each bird has it’s own destiny and challenges and a unique song to sing. I suppose it is entirely symbolic of life, many people, each with their own story in the world that we do not hear without a moment for pause.

I do not know where the words will come from for this post; this is not my conformable space – writing. All I know is I want to share the uniqueness of our story with you, and the challenges of our journey and the difficulties I know are to come, and the utter joy I am confident will follow, and for now at least I hope my words will float like the wings of a bird soaring through the sky.

The Truth About HIV and Surrogacy in Canada

We are intended parents, something I never believed could happen. I never dared to think it could be. I’m not sure I could have believed, even a few years back, that technology and medication would advance so much that a couple living with HIV have an average life expectancy. I’m not sure you could have convinced me that Anti-retroviral Medication would prevent passing HIV to others, or that becoming a biological parent would become an option through surrogacy. Perhaps this is why writing this is stirring so many emotions within me.

Of course, not everyone knows. As with the birds in the canopy, it is often hard to hear the uniqueness of each story unless we pause and pick out the individual song from the hum of the chorus. There is still a lot stigma about HIV out there, much chatter in the canopy.

Yes, you heard me correctly: a person living with HIV and taking their medication is not infectious and has an average life expectancy.

An article from the European Centre for Disease Control and Infection dated July 2018 stated:

‘This consensus in the scientific community builds on results from large multi-national research studies, which involved both heterosexual and homosexual couples in which one partner was HIV-positive. These studies followed the couples over time and found no transmission from virally suppressed HIV-positive persons to their HIV-negative partner.’  

‘These findings have now been validated by the results of the PARTNER2 study, which followed 1,000 gay male discordant couples between 2010 and 2018 and found no linked HIV transmission despite sex without condoms.’

Did you know the fertility clinics can also wash sperm?

I didn’t until I started my journey to parenthood through egg donation and surrogacy. The Reproductive Online Medical Journal has an interesting article from March 2015 which states:

‘A technique known as sperm washing, in which prior to insemination, sperm is washed free both of seminal plasma and of non-sperm cells (the major vehicles of HIV transmission), has been successfully used in the UK since 1999 (Nicopoullos et al., 2010), after being pioneered in Italy in the late 1980s (Semprini et al., 1992).’

‘Although sperm washing is still regarded as risk-reducing rather than risk-free, there have been no reports of HIV infection in over 9000 documented intrauterine insemination and IVF cycles undertaken with processed semen (Barnes et al., 2014, Bujan et al., 2007)’

As you can see, this bird’s song is a bit unique. We will soon be able to join the flock and experience the pleasures of parenthood. My partner and I now have an egg donor. The next stop on our flight path is to find a gestational carrier, a surrogate mother for our child.

We know that parenthood won’t be easy, a bit of learning to fly, a bit of teaching another to fly. We are just so grateful for the chance, for the beautiful people who have helped us along the way, those with wings of a different kind.

Have you been considering carrying a child for someone who can't?

Complete a Surrogacy Interest Form and our team will walk you through the process of becoming a Gestational Surrogate.

Are you ready to learn more about becoming a parent through surrogacy or egg donation?

Filling out an Intended Parent Interest Form is all it takes to get started.

The Skinny on Skin to Skin

The Skinny on Skin to Skin

You may have heard about the importance of skin-to-skin time with your baby and you may not have. Skin-to-skin has many benefits, but when becoming a parent through surrogacy, we think the most important part of skin-to-skin is the bond it helps to develop. Parents through surrogacy are often worried about bonding with their baby and want to facilitate that bond as quickly as possible. The best way to do that is to start spending as much time as possible with your baby undressed and on your bare chest.

 

You want me to get naked, at the hospital, with my baby?!

The short answer would be HECK YES! Of course, for wee babies, removal of your shirt is the normal go-to and for very good reasons! Skin-to-skin contact has many beneficial outcomes when used consistently. Also known as ‘kangaroo care’, this practice became popular in the 70’s and has increased with the scientific studies that prove how beneficial it can be for both the baby and the parent. Initially used on premature babies, in countries where incubators were rare or unreliable for use, it was shown to decrease infant mortality rates, the risk of hospital transmitted infections, while also increasing the success rates of breastfeeding and healthy weight gain.

 

Relief from pain

Specifically, during medical procedures or testing, skin-to-skin contact has been proven to effectively reduce pain for the infant. Obviously beneficial for the baby, but it can also provide comfort to the parent during the procedure as well. It’s never an easy task to consent to something that might cause minor harm to your child, in an effort to ensure their health and well-being, but being able to provide your child with comfort, soothing care and warmth help make a tough situation more manageable.

 

Preterm and low-weight babies

Skin-to-skin is a very effective way of normalizing babies temperature and heart and respiratory rate. It helps with increased weight gain and lowers the risk of babe acquiring an infection while in hospital. As useful as that is, there are additional benefits that have been studied including improved cognitive development, lower stress levels, pain control, growth normalization and positive outcomes for motor development. Sleep patterns, as well as colic, can be supported and possibly improved with consistent skin-to-skin care.

 

What’s in it for the parents?

Most parents would undertake any task if they knew how beneficial it would be for their child, but skin-to-skin also benefits the parents too! The most immediate improvements would be to parental confidence and bonding. Take this intimate time to talk to your baby, sing songs, whisper dreams and cherish the closeness. Scientific studies support the fact that kangaroo care lowers anxiety, particularly in new parents, and bolsters their confidence in their ability to care for their new baby and other related parenting skills.

 

Community gains

Providing skin-to-skin doesn’t just benefit those immediately involved, it also helps your community. It lowers mortality and morbidity rates while also decreasing hospital-related costs. It improves parental satisfaction and offers the opportunity to strengthen community bonds. It provides an opportunity for the passing of knowledge during the postpartum period and follow-up visits. And in the bigger picture, kangaroo care often contributes to reduced hospital stays, a decreased need for expensive medical technology, elevated parental involvement and assists in decreasing health dollars spent by the government.

 

Strip it off!

For all the reasons above, and more, utilize skin-to-skin time with your child as a regular part of your daily routine – the longer the better! The time spent with your child is time invested in their future selves.

Are you ready to learn more about becoming a parent through surrogacy or egg donation?

Filling out an Intended Parent Interest Form is all it takes to get started.