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Liz Ell­wood had her eggs frozen in 2007, be­fore vit­ri­fi­ca­tion was an op­tion. She was 24 and had just found out she had cer­vi­cal cancer. She al­ways knew she would want kids one day but hadn’t been think­ing about it in a se­ri­ous way. When her doc­tor told her she wouldn’t be able to have kids in the fu­ture, she was dev­as­tated. She wanted the abil­ity to make the choice when she was ready—just like every­one else. Although she was told egg freez­ing was still ex­per­i­men­tal, she tried the pro­ce­dure in 2009. Un­for­tu­nately, her eggs did not sur­vive the de­frost­ing process.

Ell­wood de­cided on egg do­na­tion and sur­ro­gacy and is thank­ful for it ev­ery day. “I have a daugh­ter,” she says. “It doesn’t mat­ter that she wasn’t born from my own eggs—she’s mine.” Ell­wood is very grate­ful to the two women who made this pos­si­ble: the egg donor and the sur­ro­gate. She and her business part­ner, Lisa Cas­sel­man, launched Fer­til­ity Match in Ot­tawa to help other women find sur­ro­gates and to ad­vo­cate for women who wish to do­nate their eggs. Ell­wood says there’s a mis­con­cep­tion that it is il­le­gal to be paid to do­nate your eggs in Canada. Although a woman can’t be paid di­rectly, she can be re­im­bursed for ex­penses re­lated to the do­na­tion process, such as gro­ceries, pre­pared food and child­care. The over­all cost varies, de­pend­ing on whether or not both an egg donor and a sur­ro­gate are re­quired, as well as clinic and le­gal fees, but it generally runs from $60,000 to $100,000. Ell­wood also founded Fer­tile Fu­ture, a char­ity that has helped 530 Cana­dian women (in­clud­ing Ch­eryl Heykoop) pre­serve their fer­til­ity since 2007.

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