Surrogates Voices'

Despite the growing use of surrogacy to build families in Canada, little is known about the experiences of surrogates themselves. Media accounts describe a wide array of both positive and negative experiences, including important instances of exploitation of surrogates and surrogacy arrangements gone awry. Yet, academic research on the nature of surrogacy in Canada, and particularly research that speaks to surrogates’ experiences to date has been limited by both geographical focus and very small sample size. The lack of data on surrogates’ experiences in Canada is particularly important because there have been a number of new attempts to change the governance of surrogacy in Canada. The objective of the proposed research project is to explore the experienes of surrogates in Canada in order to determine what factors may contribute to the potential vulnerabilities they may face. Ultimately, the current lack of knowledge about surrogates’ experiences in Canada means that there is little understanding of how to ensure that women engaging are well supported, and have positive experiences. This project will address these concerns through the generation of empirical data on the experiences of surrogates in Canada, and targeted recommendations to improve practices, policies and laws related to surrogacy.

This project is led by principal researcher Vanessa Gruben (U. Ottawa) with co-researcher Karen Busby (U. Montana), Angela Cameron (U. Ottawa), Stefanie Carsley (U. Ottawa), Alana Cattapan (U. Waterloo), Isabel Côté (UQO), Alicia Czarnowski (U. Ottawa), Marie-Claude Léveillé (U. Ottawa), Erin Nelson (U. Alberta) and Pamela White (U. Kent).

This project was made possible thanks to the financial support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) [Savoir 2018–2023].

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