What is third-party reproduction?

Third-party reproduction is the act of building your family with the help of another person's gametes (i.e., eggs or sperm), embryos, or uterus. Third-party reproduction includes embryo donation, sperm donation, egg donation, and surrogacy. The most common reasons for donation and surrogacy are due to infertility, single parenting, and LGBTQ+ family-building.


Many happy families are successfully created every day with third-party reproduction. However, this type of baby-making can bring a few extra considerations for everyone -- the intended parent(s), the donor,  the gestational carrier/surrogate, and the future child.


Third-party reproduction support, information & strategies:

  • Make the decision if donation or surrogacy is right for you
  • Prepare to be an intended parent, donor, or surrogate
  • Know what to look for in a donor or surrogate or IPs
  • Learn how and when to inform your children of their origin story
  • Know if, how, and when to inform friends and family of your plans
  • Manage the relationships, boundaries, and expectations between all parties
  • Feel more attached and bonded to your child, regardless of genetic connection

What happens in a third-party reproduction counselling session?

In a third-party reproduction counselling session, Holly will provide you with information, support, and strategies to help make your journey as smooth as possible. A psychosocial history is taken and information is collected regarding your pregnancy plans. Specific topics are discussed according to best practice guidelines outlined by Health Canada, the Canadian Fertility & Andrology Society, and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. A report is then sent to the fertility clinic of your choice, which confirms you are ready to move to the next steps in your journey.

Some things to know before your session:

  • Partners:  If you are living with a partner (cohabiting, common-law, married), they are required to attend this appointment with you. 
  • Known donation/surrogacy:  If you know the other party (i.e., friends, family, matching service, etc), they will need to attend a counselling session. It is recommended that each party have their own session (with partners) with the same counsellor, when possible. This is especially important if you will be in contact with each other during medical treatment/pregnancy or in the future.
  • Counselling report: A report that confirms you have discussed the required topics will be sent to your clinic after your meeting. The report is specific to each arrangement and in most cases is not transferable to other parties, other arrangements, or other clinics. The report is typically valid for up to one year, unless circumstances before that time alter your arrangement significantly (e.g., changes in health or mental health status, partner(s), source of gametes, etc.).