Using Donors and Surrogates

Using Donor Sperm

The use of donor sperm is suggested when the male partner:

  • cannot produce sperm (azoospermia)
  • produces very low quality sperm (oligozoospermia), making pregnancy highly unlikely
  • or for other reasons such as a genetic cause, testicular injury, surgery or cancer therapy. 

It is also commonly used by single and lesbian women seeking a pregnancy.

Donor sperm can be used with intra uterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Sperm Banks

Semen samples must be ordered by distributors that are in compliance with Health Canada and the Quebec Ministry of Health. Currently, there are three such banks in Canada:

For more information, read Using Donor Sperm FAQs


Using Donor Eggs

The use of donor eggs is suggested when the female partner:

  • does not have eggs (ovarian failure)
  • has very poor quality eggs, and a poor chance a achieving a healthy pregnancy
  • or for other reasons such as a genetic cause, the absence of ovaries, premature menopause, surgery or cancer therapy.

Donor eggs can come from a known donor such as a friend or a relative who is willing to make an altruistic donation, which means there can be no payment in exchange for the eggs.  Another option is to use an egg bank as our Centre now offers patients access to American egg banks through a Canadian distributor. With this service, couples no longer have to search or wait for an egg donor.

Egg Banks

To ensure the highest standards of safety and quality, we work exclusively with CAN-AM Cryoservices and Canada Cryobank, the Health Canada-approved distributors for two American egg banks: Fairfax and NW Cryobank.

For more information, read:

Using Donor Egg Bank FAQs

Information Guide for Potential Egg Donors

Information Guide for Donor Egg Recipients


Using a Gestational Surrogate

Gestational surrogacy is a mutual arrangement in which a woman (the surrogate) volunteers to carry a pregnancy for a commissioning couple or person (the intended parents or parent). The surrogate is not biologically related to the baby she is carrying. The egg(s) and sperm come from the commissioning couple or possibly from an egg or sperm donor.

Although surrogacy can seem overwhelmingly complex, our team of experts – including fertility specialists, a reproductive psychologist, and nurse clinicians – is there to facilitate the process by guiding patients through the various steps. Patients interested in pursuing a surrogacy arrangement must seek legal counsel prior to treatment to ensure that all parties make the best decisions and follow the laws that govern surrogacy in Quebec. To learn more about surrogacy, download our Surrogacy booklet (PDF)