Is Surrogacy Legal in Canada? – Regulations, Process & Cost

By Babygest Staff
Last Update: 09/19/2019

Surrogacy is legal in Canada in accordance with the Assisted Human Reproduction Act (AHRA). However, it is a highly restricted infertility treatment: only altruistic arrangements are allowed, that is, gestational carriers cannot be paid more than the basic expenses.

Surrogacy agencies are prohibited as well, although their work is permitted as long as it is limited to just helping and counseling intended parents. Commercial services of any kind are strictly forbidden. The total cost may be about $80,000 CAD ($64,000 USD approximately).

Surrogacy law

Contrary to what happens in the United States, there is only one Canadian province where surrogacy arrangements are illegal, and that is Quebec, where the law establishes that every surrogacy agreement shall be considered invalid.

In the rest of the country, Canadian regulations are favorable to surrogacy arrangements for both Canadian citizens and foreign patients. As explained earlier, it is available for all family types, including single parents, opposite-sex couples, and same-sex couples.

However, despite the openness of the Canadian policies that govern surrogacy, it is not a common destination country for international intended parents due to the conditions and requirements set by the Canadian law, which turn the recruitment of gestational carriers into a tough process.

This major drawback is due to the fact that surrogacy is allowed, but as long as it is done on a 100% altruistic basis, in accordance with the Assisted Human Reproduction Act (Bill C-6, AHRA), i.e. the act governing surrogacy and assisted reproductive technology in Canada. This means that gestational carriers cannot be paid any sort of financial compensation in exchange for carrying someone else's child.

Intended parents must reimburse all the expenses incurred by the gestational carrier during the pregnancy, though. Such expenses are explained in the section hereunder.

Reimbursement of expenses

Intended parents are responsible for the gestational carriers expenses incurred during pregnancy. In other words, they have to reimburse any expenses occasioned by the surrogate pregnancy process itself, including:

  • Prenatal vitamins
  • Maternity clothing
  • Travel expenses incurred to attend medical visits
  • Medications needed throughout the process and the pregnancy
  • Compensation for lost wages

Gestational carriers have to provide proof of payment for every expense incurred. The sum paid by intended parents as a reimbursement of expenses is limited to $22,000 CAD.


In short, the main limitations established by the Canadian law concerning surrogacy arrangements are:

  1. No person or party involved is allowed to pay a monetary sum to the gestational carrier. Offering or advertising it is considered a criminal offence.
  2. No person involved as an intermediary in a surrogacy arrangement shall accept payments of any kind, or advertise such service.
  3. No woman under 21 years of age can become a gestational carrier. Promoting, recommending, or assisting a woman under this age in becoming so is forbidden.

If a breach of law of these characteristics occurs (e.g. entering into a commercial surrogacy arrangement) in a surrogacy process, the one or ones involves may be subject to 10 years imprisonment, and a fine of up to CAD $500,000.


In Canada, the average cost of surrogacy procedures is lower than in the United States. To be precise, prices can range from $57,000 to $133,000 CAD approximately. Intended parents are recommended to have an additional sum of money available for covering potential mishaps, though.

The more or less affordable price of the technique in Canada if compared to the USA is not only due to altruism, but also to the fact that the Canadian healthcare system is publicly funded, and covers the medical expenses derived from pregnancy. It does not cover, however, those incurred during infertility treatments.

Surrogacy is the most misleading and misinformed assisted reproduction treatment. Therefore, a fundamental aspect in selecting a clinic and agency for surrogacy treatment is transparency.

Pros and cons

Knowing this, we can summarize the advantages of choosing Canada as your destination for surrogacy abroad in the following points:

  • Affordable prices in comparison with other popular destinations that offer similar conditions.
  • The healthcare system is publicly funded.
  • Legal parentage under Canadian law is determined by a court ruling.
  • All children born in Canada become Canadian citizens.
  • All family types are welcomed.

On the other hand, one should keep in mind that the main inconvenient of this destination is the scarcity of gestational carriers, which causes waiting lists to be even longer, especially if we compare them to those of other countries where surrogacy is not 100% altruistic.

This is the reason why Canada is not so popular internationally in spite of offering legal guarantees for all family types.

FAQs from users

Do Canadian surrogates get paid?

By Andrea Rodrigo (embryologist).

No, payments are prohibited according to the Bill C-6, AHRA. However, intended parents can reimburse the expenses of the process to the surrogate. Commercial surrogacy arrangements are strictly forbidden.

Can a surrogate mother keep the baby in Canada?

By Andrea Rodrigo (embryologist).

Once a baby is born via surrogacy in Canadian territory, it is very important to take all the necessary legal steps in order for the IPs to be declared the legal parents of the child. As long as you have established the rights and obligations of each party in the surrogacy agreement and work with an experienced attorney, there's no reason why the surrogate should keep the baby following birth.

What do the surrogacy laws say in Ontario?

By Andrea Rodrigo (embryologist).

The regulations governing surrogacy in Ontario were amended in 2017 and introduced several changes. Perhaps the most important one for potential intended parents is that legal parentage won't be determined until 7 days after the birth, irrespective of whether there existed an initial surrogacy agreement between the IPs and the surrogate.

What are the statistics of surrogacy in Canada?

By Andrea Rodrigo (embryologist).

A recent study has shown that the increase of surrogacy arrangements in Canada have increased by 400% in the last decade, being infertility associated with delayed motherhood the main reason why couples turn to a gestational carrier.

Suggested for you

Canada is a common destination country for international intended parents who decide to pursue surrogacy abroad. To learn about other feasible destinations, go check the following guide: International Surrogacy Guide – Laws & Options for Surrogacy Abroad.

In case you wish to compare the regulations on Canada with those of the United States of America, we recommend that you have a look at this post: Surrogacy in the USA – Is It Legal in All 50 States?

We have explained that the only type of surrogacy permitted in Canada is the altruistic modality. Find out about other types of surrogacy currently available in other countries here: What Are the Different Types of Surrogacy?

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