The Canadian Surrogacy Community wants Ottawa to decriminalize the act of paying surrogates to carry other people’s babies – and they recently hired a lobbyist to help them achieve that goal.
The surrogacy agency recruited Lisa Jibson, founder and chief administrative officer of Ross Street Agency, to push government officials to repeal section six of the Assisted Human Reproduction Act – which says it’s illegal for an intended parent or couple in Canada to compensate a woman for carrying a baby on their behalf.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it’s time for society to study the issue of decriminalizing payment for surrogate mothers and sperm or egg donors. (Radio-Canada)
“I think this is something we need to be thinking about as a society, and when we see the bill I know we will be having a discussion about rights and responsibilities that we share as a society,” Trudeau said. “And we will try to see how we can move forward in a reasonable manner.”
Trudeau was referencing a planned private member’s bill being put forward by Liberal MP Anthony Housefather. The bill, which Housefather plans to table in May, would decriminalize payments for surrogate moms and sperm or egg donors.
Canadians from every demographic and economic group could require a surrogate and/or gamete donor to build their family. Every Canadian should have the right and ability to have a family without fear of legal prosecution. This means that just to give one example, to even send flowers to a surrogate could expose intended parents (IPs) and agency staff to criminal liability and penalties. Expenses meant to cover costs directly related to the pregnancy are a grey area, and currently, any perceived breach could result in the conviction of an indictable offense with a fine of up to $500,000, a jail sentence of up to 10 years, or both.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it’s time for Canadian society to wrestle with the controversial issue of paying women to carry other people’s babies.
Calling paid surrogacy an “extremely important issue” that affects many prospective parents, including same-sex and infertile couples, Trudeau said today he expects the debate will draw extreme opinions and emotions.
The government, he said, wants to listen and show respect for all views to “move forward appropriately.”
“I think this is something we need to be thinking about as a society, and when we see the bill I know we will be having a discussion about rights and responsibilities that we share as a society,” he said. “And we will try to see how we can move forward in a reasonable manner.”
In Canada, it’s illegal to pay for the services of a surrogate mother or to purchase human gametes — sperm and eggs. These prohibitions are entrenched in the Assisted Human Reproduction Act. Some Liberal members of Parliament want to change this.
Anthony Housefather, MP for Mount Royal and chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, recently held a news conference to announce that he plans to introduce a private member’s bill to remove the legal prohibitions on payments.
Infertility sucks. If you haven’t lived through it, or experienced it vicariously through a friend, it’s hard to explain why it is soul-crushingly awful.
Before I was thrust into the dark underworld of nightly hormone injections, invasive vaginal ultrasounds and regular blood tests revealing to me just how crappy my eggs are, I was able to brush it off like most people.
“Why is she so upset about her miscarriage? She can just try again. It’s not as if a real baby was in there.” And, “Why would they spend that much money on in vitro fertilization when they can just adopt?”