A Sylvan Lake woman is lending her voice to dispel the stigma and negative images around surrogacy.
Cindy Pelletier has been a surrogate twice, and is preparing to do so again.
She says becoming a surrogate for another person felt like a calling.
After giving birth to her third child, Pelletier felt her family was complete, but not her time with pregnancy.
“I was able to help others complete their family, I was healthy and able, so I felt like it was something I was supposed to do,” Pelletier said.
Deciding to become a surrogate came with a number of tough conversations, a number of questions, push-back and a lot of stigma.
Pelletier says she faced questions like “Why can’t they just adopt?” and “Why should gay people even have kids?”
“I am not God, I am not here to choose who can have a child… If someone has love to give to a child why shouldn’t they?”
She continued to say adoption is an excellent choice as well for those looking to expand their family, however it isn’t always an option.
Adoption may not be an option for a couple because of laws working against same-sex couples in some countries, or not being able to work with a child’s potential traumas when adopting.
“It takes a special person to adopt, and a lot of people can’t or just aren’t right for that,” said Pelletier.
Pelletier says there are many who question the legitimacy of becoming a surrogate for another, especially when the parents live in another country.
There are horror stories, Pelletier admits. However, she says surrogacy agency such as Canadian Fertility Consultants, help you through every step and there is a two week “dating period” where you can make sure you are a match with the couple.
“I believe with my whole heart that people should have the right to choose whether or not they want to have a family… If I can help I will,” Pelletier said.
Her children are growing up knowing their mother is helping others complete their families. Pelletier says they “just think that is what people do.”
Pelletier says there are many people who are facing fertility problems, such as infertility. While adoption and fertility treatments are options, she says it is worth at least looking into surrogacy as an option.
“I never felt like it was my baby. I didn’t plan their name or their life or anything like that. I just knew that I was helping another complete their family,” Pelletier said.
In Canada surrogacy is legal, however “compensated or commercial” surrogacy is prohibited. The Assisted Human Reproduction Act of 2004 allows a surrogate mother to be reimbursed for surrogacy/pregnancy related expenses. This form of surrogacy is called “altruistic surrogacy”.