Chelsey St. Pierre and Beryl Wajsman | The Suburban | October 22, 2021
Quebec’s family law is finally being updated after three decades with Bill 2, which will aim to legalize contracts signed between a surrogate and intended parents. The bill requires that the surrogate is at least 21 years old and be compensated only for loss of work income and other pregnancy expenses. To protect the surrogate, the intended parents cannot withdraw from the contract once she is pregnant and cannot sue if she decides to abort or keep the child.
This case involves a Canadian couple struggling with infertility who had attempted unsuccessfully multiple times to conceive via IVF and surrogacy in India. The husband had an affair with a woman, who later entered an unsupervised surrogacy agreement with the couple. After various attempts to conceive, the woman eventually gave birth to a child with her donated egg and the husband’s sperm through a disputed method. In 2020, she demanded more compensation and parenting time with the child, eventually filing a legal case. So far, the court has classified her as a nonguardian and deemed her request harmful to the child, and the case will go to trial in January 2022.
In this article, Alison Motluk presents a number of extremely difficult circumstances occurring with international surrogacy arrangements impacted by the COVID crisis. She raises issues of the well-being of babies who are institutionalized or cared for by surrogates as they await their parents in other countries; increased costs for intended parents trying to navigate border closures; and potential legislative changes that would change the international commercial surrogacy landscape in Canada and beyond.
Shelly Lyn Maynard and her husband, Mark Foley, are a Nova Scotia couple who formed their family through surrogacy. As this articles explains, they are now pursuing a Charter of Rights and Freedoms challenge to a Canadian Revenue Agency policy they claim creates undue hardship for intended parents.
An increasing number of intended parents are traveling to Canada from other countries to pursue surrogacy arrangements, especially since other locations such as India, Nepal, Thailand, and Mexico restricted their industry to domestic arrangements. Canada also grants legal parentage to intended parents in a few days, and issues a birth certificate within weeks, so the new family can return to their home country. Canadians may be reluctant to pursue surrogacy arrangements because paid surrogacy is criminalized for citizens only. Because of this loophole and because Canada does not allow discrimination based on marital status and sexual orientation, the country attracts foreign intended parents.
This report tracks steps taken by the Government of Canada towards strengthening the country’s Assisted Human Reproduction Act and supporting regulation. It focuses on three specific areas: the safety of donor sperm and eggs; the process, scope, and documentation related to reimbursement; administration and enforcement.
The purpose of the document, according to its introduction, is to provide Canadians with an overview of key policy proposals that will help inform the development of regulations and engage citizens prior to finalizing policy. Several members of Impact Ethics participated in a public consultation (read the summary), including Françoise Baylis, co-editor of “Family Making: Contemporary Ethical Challenges.”
Read a commentary on Health Canada’s efforts to reboot the Assisted Human Reproduction Act, contributed to the International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics by Francine Coeytaux (Co-Director of Pro-Choice Alliance for Responsible Research), Marcy Darnovsky (Executive Director of Center for Genetics and Society), Susan Berke Fogel (Co-Director of Pro-Choice Alliance for Responsible Research), and Emily Galpern (Consultant at Center for Genetics and Society).
The International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics provides a forum within bioethics for feminist thought and debate. It is sponsored by the International Network on Feminist Approaches to Bioethics, and includes feminist scholarship on ethical issues related to health, health care, and the biomedical sciences.
Contributors to vol. 7, no. 2, titled Transnational Reproductive Travel, explore questions and ethics related to international commercial surrogacy, in countries such as Canada, Thailand, Japan, and Denmark. The issue also includes a commentary on the Hague Convention and a review of “Breeders: A Subclass of Women,” by Jennifer Lahl from Stop Surrogacy Now.