Surrogacy Law in Canada
However, the AHRA outlaws commercial surrogacy where the surrogate mother is paid for her efforts. For example, the United States allows surrogate mothers to be paid for their time and effort. Canada in contrast only allows altruistic surrogacy, someone who is reimbursed for reasonable expenses like travel costs to see the doctor or medical costs like prenatal vitamins but isn’t paid for their efforts. Reasonable expenses can include groceries, but it is best to have a surrogacy contract that details allowable and agreed upon expenses before implanting an embryo. You need to decide in advance what to do if there are multiples or a potential genetic abnormality.
The law also covers other aspects, such as prohibiting cloning and sex selection except when it prevents a sex-linked genetic disease from affecting the resulting child. Egg donation and sperm donation are allowed, and can be done in conjunction with altruistic surrogacy, as long as the donor has given consent. Gametes can’t be collected from anyone under 18 unless it is to preserve someone’s fertility, such as collecting sperm or eggs before a teenager undergoes radiation treatment for cancer. The law requires someone to be at least 21 before they can become a surrogate. Many clinics require that the surrogate mother have at least one child, both to demonstrate her ability to successfully carry a child to term and make it easier to give the child to its intended parents. This is an even greater issue when the surrogate mother is a traditional surrogate, contributing her own egg and using the intended father’s sperm, but many fertility clinics avoid this emotionally tangled issue by only performing gestational surrogates who have no genetic relationship to the child.
Other Factors Applied to Surrogates
Surrogates who have had repeated healthy pregnancies and births will be considered before those who have not. For example, someone who has developed prenatal diabetes or suffered repeated miscarriages will be rejected as a potential surrogate mother.
Physical and psychological screenings are mandatory for potential surrogate mothers. There are many health conditions that preclude becoming a surrogate, including anything that poses a risk to the child or the potential mother.
Surrogacy services look for women who have completed their family. For example, their ideal family is two children and they have two children. They want to become surrogates because they want to give other people that same gift of a family or enjoy being pregnant but don’t want another baby to raise. Women who’ve said I’d like to have another child and help others to have a child are the perfect surrogates.
Family members of the intended parents can become surrogates, and they often do for the same altruistic reasons that most gestational surrogates do so. This can run into the age limits many surrogacy services have, with an upper limit usually in the forties. The age of 45 is a common cutoff unless it is a family member offering to carry the relative’s child.
Surrogates are typically required to have no criminal record. They must have a supportive family and/or spouse. No woman whose partner is opposed to the surrogacy arrangement is a suitable surrogate.
Most clinics require the mother to demonstrate that she is financially secure before she can become a surrogate mother. This eliminates the concern that the woman is being pressured into surrogacy in the hope of some form of compensation. Surrogate mothers can be compensated for lost wages if forced to bed rest or extra time away from work recovering after a C-section instead of a standard vaginal birth.
Gestational Surrogacy and In Vitro Fertilization
Gestational surrogacy requires in vitro fertilization. However, there are many options with regard to this. Many intended parents use their own sperm and eggs to create the embryos implanted in the surrogate. The result is their own, biological child. In vitro fertilization via donor sperm allows couples where the woman has viable eggs but can’t carry a child to term and a sterile father to create a baby. Egg donation and sperm from same sex male couples is another variation on this theme, allowing two men to create a child that is biologically related to them. Gestational surrogacy using donor eggs and the intended father’s sperm is common, especially when the infertility is related to the intended mother’s biological age. In rare cases, both donor eggs and donor sperm are used.
Who Is Allowed to Use a Surrogate?
Canadian law does not prohibit single intended parents or homosexual couples from using surrogates, though some other nations do. This is one reason why many surrogacy services offer support to international intended parents – because Canada gives them the option and the ability to find surrogates for far less than it would if they hired a surrogate mother in the United States.