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Fertility Law

Creating Your Family

People in diverse situations may need help to have a child

Are you considering having a child with the help of a surrogate, an egg donor, sperm donor, or embryo donor? Or are you considering helping someone to have a child by carrying their child, donating eggs, sperm, or embryos?

Fertility law is a complex coming together of many areas of law, both federal and provincial. To plan your family and safeguard your rights and responsibilities, you need help.

Most fertility clinics in Canada will expect to see a fertility law contract with the proper legal content:

  • if you are planning to be a surrogate or use a surrogate;
  • if you are planning to donate eggs/sperm or use donated eggs/sperm; and/or
  • if you are planning to donate or receive embryos.

Full consideration of creating a family using “assisted reproduction” might need a discussion of various areas of law, for example:

  • Family Law (e.g., marriage & divorce, child support, and property)
  • Medical Law
  • Health Law

Chris is a family law lawyer trained in both medical law and health law.

Whenever people enter a contract together, they all have the right to each have their own lawyer. People entering a contract for assisted human reproduction benefit by having legal advice about how the contract affects their rights and obligations. This is the way that the courts and the parties can know that everybody is on an equal footing.

SURROGACY

  • It is legal in Canada for you to be a surrogate or to hire a surrogate.
  • But it is illegal to pay someone to be a surrogate mother, or to receive payment for being a surrogate.
  • Even so, if you are a surrogate, you can still get paid for out-of-pocket expenses related to the surrogacy. Surrogacy is covered by section 6 of the Assisted Human Reproduction Act.

Whether you are planning to be a surrogate mother, or whether you are an intended parent planning to use a surrogate mother, make sure you get help from a fertility lawyer.

EGG/SPERM DONATION

  • It is legal in Canada for you to donate or receive eggs/sperm.
  • But it is illegal to pay or to receive payment for eggs/sperm.
  • Even so, if you are a donor, you can still get paid for out-of-pocket expenses related to the donation by the intended parent(s). Donation is covered by section 7 of the Assisted Human Reproduction Act.

EMBRYO DONATION

  • It is legal in Canada for you to donate embryos or to receive donated embryos.
  • But it is illegal to pay for embryos or to receive payment if you donate embryos.
  • Even so, if you are a donor, you can still get paid for out-of-pocket expenses related to the donation by the intended parent(s). The donation of embryos is covered by section 7 of the Assisted Human Reproduction Act.

CHRIS’ CREDENTIALS

  • Studied Assisted Human Reproduction Technology Law, Health Law, Medical Law
  • Major Thesis in law school “Rethinking Canada’s Surrogacy Ban: a review of the commercial surrogacy ban in Canada’s Assisted Human Reproduction Act
  • Thesis Supervisor: Maureen McTeer, founding member of Canada’s Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies
  • University of British Columbia (UBC) invited Chris to speak at Standard Margins, an international symposium on fertility law

Chris’ journey as a gay-rights activist began in 1995, when he envisioned and organized a university campus club for gay men and lesbian women at University of Ottawa. Members named the space the “Pride Centre”. Despite changing location, the Pride Centre has been a fixture at University of Ottawa ever since.

In 2016, Chris became a member of the LGBTQ+ Bar Association and Foundation (LGBTQ+ Bar), based in Washington, D.C. The LGBTQ+ Bar is an official affiliate of the American Bar Association (ABA). It works closely with the ABA’s Section on Individual Rights and Responsibilities and its Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.

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