A single dad from Canada has welcomed his second child after spending $350,000 CAD ($378,000 AUD) on surrogacy.
Nathan Chan had his first child, a baby girl, via surrogacy three years ago, and last month he announced the arrival of his son.
The father-of-two is also the founder and managing director of Proud Fertility, a “Canadian Surrogacy Consultancy dedicated to helping individuals and couples become families through egg donation and surrogacy.”
“My experience in this field has not only led me to a surrogate angel to give me the gift of fatherhood, but inspired me to help others struggling to conceive like myself,” said Nathan.
“My role is to support surrogates, egg donors, and future parents with the logistical and legal side and I support them during their postpartum recovery. I’m there for them emotionally too and I coordinate professional counselling, which is critical for a healthy surrogacy journey.”
Nathan talks about the desire he had to desperately become a dad but not having met the right person. He tried the adoption avenue but was unsuccessful due to his single status. Despite a lot of negative criticism, including from family and friends, he finally decided to try surrogacy and egg donation.
The process involved seven failed embryo transfers, one miscarriage and one stillborn, which Nathan describes as “eight years filled with struggles, heartache and grief, all of which took an emotional and financial toll.”
“But after six surrogates, three egg donors, five fertility clinics in three different countries, and our 10th embryo transfer, the trials finally led to my beautiful daughter, Nanette. She was born via my sixth gestational surrogate and she is worth everything lost and gained.”
“Becoming a father through such an unconventional way has been one of the bravest and best decisions I’ve ever made. I am so fortunate and blessed to have two children and I am loving every second of it,” said Nathan.
One can’t help but empathise with stories like Nathan’s, where an individual or couple yearns to have children, but is unable to due to fertility issues or not having met the right person. There is no denying the immense suffering and grief that this can cause.
The question, however, is whether seeking to address this painful situation justifies the ethically fraught and harmful practices of surrogacy and egg donation.
In Nathan’s case, his surrogacy journey for just his first child involved six surrogates, three egg donors, and ten embryos. That’s nine women who subjugated their own health and safety for Nathan’s desire to have a child.
Six were pumped full of hormones; four endured the risks of pregnancy and childbirth, and were separated from the child they carried for nine months (or in the case of two women, lost the child through stillbirth or miscarriage). How they came to be surrogates and how they were treated during the process is unclear (there are countless stories of exploitation and maltreatment of surrogates), as is the physical and psychological toll it took on them.
Three further women were also injected with cocktails of hormones used to stimulate egg production, exposing them to risks of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (which can be fatal), long-term cancers and loss of fertility. Once again, we don’t know how these women came to be egg donors and what kind of pressures may have caused them to ‘choose’ to sell their eggs.
Then there are the children. One was miscarried and one was stillborn. The two who survived to be Nathan’s children, were purposefully born to be without a mother. They were made to undergo the trauma of being separated from their birth mothers. They have likely been deprived from ever knowing their biological mothers and thus, part of their identity. They were purchased like commodities.
The suffering of couples or individuals unable to bear their own children should not be minimised, but neither should the harms to surrogate women and children. The suffering of those who want children must not be alleviated by the harmful and exploitative practices of surrogacy and egg donation.