Infertility is an expensive obstacle to work around for potential parents and the surrogacy option is no exception. 

Though Canada is different from the United States in the fact that here you cannot buy a baby, potential parents will still have to fork over thousands to take a child home. 

Canada has much stricter laws than you may have seen on TV dramas such as The Surrogacy or Rosanne and most prospective parents hire a fertility lawyer to help them navigate the tricky process. 

Canadians must have a surrogacy agreement in place and the surrogate must have their own legal counsel to enter into a lawful surrogacy process.

I spoke to Ellen K. Embury at Embury and West, a fertility lawyer based in Alberta who works with clients all around the country. 

Background on Surrogacy

There are two kinds of surrogacy: traditional and gestational. Gestational is the most common because the intended parents are related to the child and the surrogate is not. This creates less potential for legal issues as the surrogate has no genetic claim on the child. 

But intended parents should not be worried about traditional surrogacy. No Canadian surrogate has ever tried to keep the baby. It’s more common for the intended parents to change their mind than the surrogate. 

Traditional surrogacy is less common. Here, the surrogate provides the egg and therefore is the biological mother of the child, but she still does not have rights to the child post labour. 

There are also donation options available for people without viable eggs or sperm to create an embryo, but using either/both of these will rack up the final price. 

Surrogates in Canada do not get paid for their time and labour. The country only allows altruistic surrogacy (the surrogate wants to provide a service free of charge), not commercial (the surrogate wants to be paid for a service). 

Listen to more of my interview with Ellen Embury about why women choose to become surrogates found in the audio file below.

This law, and the recent pandemic, have created a large gap in supply and demand of surrogates. Currently, potential parents may have to wait up to two years before being matched with a surrogate, according to Embury.

An important caveat in Canadian surrogacy is that surrogacy agencies will not take on clients looking for a vanity surrogate. 

Vanity surrogacy is when a woman who is physically and mentally healthy and medically capable of carrying her own child hires a surrogate because she doesn’t want to carry her own baby (i.e. inconvenient to carry her own child or wanting to keep her figure).

Surrogacy Costs

The below costs are shared from Embury and West and are accurate as of 2022. These costs are an approximation only and will change depending on the situation. Most of the surrogates’ medical costs will be covered by provincial health insurance, but this does not cover all of their costs (i.e. fertility medications) which will be paid by intended parents. 

Fertility lawyers will outline the intended parents’ actual expenses in the fertility contract, which will provide the budding family with a more accurate number. 

Total expected cost: $35000 – $62000

Surrogacy Canada Online recommends budgeting $80000 for the process to ensure the intended parents can cover any unexpected costs that may arise.

*Not all costs are applicable to all intended families. 

Overarching Cost

Surrogacy Agency$15000-$17000
Egg donor (if applicable)$12000-$15000
Surrogates Reimbursable Expenses$20000-$30000

Cost Breakdown

*Costs are extremely variable per situation, consult your lawyer for the most accurate costs

Newborn Health Insurance (international only)$5200 (+$3300 if NICU is required)
Surrogate Travel (when applicable)Up to $2500-$5000 if flights are required
Life Insurance$600/year
Maternity Clothes$750 allowance
Surrogacy Contract$3500
Surrogates’ Lawyer$2500
Egg Donation Contract (if applicable)$1750
Parentage Process$2500-$5000
Wage loss (if applicable)Up to $1000/week
Surrogates’ Childcare (if applicable)$200-$400/week

Worst Case Scenario Additional Costs:

Loss of Reproductive Organs$2000-$3500

International Clients

Canada makes the surrogacy process much more accessible than many other countries and is one of few countries that have legalized the process. 

Tight laws surrounding the process also make surrogacy much cheaper than it is in the USA, and Embury says she sees many clients from the states. 

International clients will pay more than Canadians. Travel expenses and accommodations will be paid out of pocket and can rack up the total price, depending on the situation.

Luckily, most surrogacy agencies, including Embury and West, aim to get their families home as quickly as possible to reduce these additional expenses. 

Additional Resources

For potential parents who still have questions I haven’t answered, I’ve compiled a few resources to help on your learning journey. 

Learn more about Canadian surrogacy law: Prohibitions related to Surrogacy –

Qualifications for intended parents in Canada: Surrogacy in Canada Online – Intended Parent Qualifications

Establishing parentage for surrogate babies broken down by province: Establishing-Parentage-for-Canadian-Provinces-1.pdf (

Surrogacy groups to connect with others in the same situation: Surrogacy Groups – MySurrogateMom.