Surrogate pregnancy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Date: Apr. 4, 2022
From: CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal(Vol. 194, Issue 13)
Publisher: CMA Impact Inc.
Document Type: Article
Length: 2,207 words
Lexile Measure: 1130L

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In 2019, Venus, a woman living in Canada with 1 child of her own, decided to carry a surrogate pregnancy for Justyn and Tru, a gay couple living in the United States. As often occurs with surrogate pregnancies, an agency facilitated the meeting of Justyn and Tru with Venus, managed the referral to the fertility clinic and provided assistance with legal documentation and payment of Venus' expenses. (1)

After egg and sperm donation, in vitro fertilization and confirmation of pregnancy, Venus' prenatal care was transferred to her family physician, who followed her until 28 weeks' gestation. She was then referred to a family physician with expertise in obstetrics for further prenatal care and childbirth. Although assisted reproductive pregnancies can have higher rates of complications, Venus' pregnancy proceeded without major medical concerns.

Under normal circumstances, the surrogate and the intended parents meet in person, and the intended parents often attend prenatal and ultrasonography appointments and communicate face to face with the health care workers involved. However, shortly after Venus' procedure to carry Justyn and Tru's child, the US border would close because of the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning that all subsequent communication was virtual. As Venus' due date approached, the situation became particularly stressful. It was not clear if Justyn and Tru would be able to be at the hospital at the time of the birth, given that they had to quarantine in Canada for 2 weeks before being allowed into the hospital.

Parents' perspective

Our surrogacy journey started in January 2019. We live in the US, a teacher and a soldier in the US Army. We always wanted to have children together and consider ourselves fortunate to have started this journey in our mid-20s.

As gay men, we have very few options to have children and it was difficult to know where to start. We could think of only 2 options: adoption or surrogacy. To educate ourselves about what was involved, we attended a conference by an organization that helps gay couples who want to have a child by bringing together the different parties, including doctors, lawyers, representatives from fertility clinics and other professionals. This opened our eyes to our options, particularly that surrogacy was a possibility. We also learned that we could create embryos with our own genetic material. This was mind blowing! Our goal was to have genetically related children, so surrogacy became our only option.

Before we could have our child, we had to find a fertility clinic, interview surrogacy agencies, choose a lawyer and learn about the legal requirements. In the US, intended parents pay for the surrogate's services but, in Canada, we were responsible for reimbursing the surrogate for pregnancy-related expenses. It is a different process.

Through our fertility centre, we used Justyn's sperm and eggs from Tru's sister. This allowed for the best genetic link between our families. The centre created and froze 9 embryos. In the summer of 2019, we met Venus and immediately felt a connection. We were similar in age, reasonably close...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A698824073