In Canada, people who want to grow their families via surrogacy can reimburse the surrogate for medical and maternity expenses under certain circumstances, however, it is illegal to compensate a surrogate for her services. A bill before the legislature would change that, decriminalizing payments for both surrogates and for sperm or egg donors.
The current law has been in place since 2004, but recent numbers show that surrogacy is on the rise in Canada. In 2010, there were 285 reported surrogates. In 2017, that number had risen to 700, driven in part by an increase in same-sex couples, would-be single parents, and heterosexual couples wanting to become parents later in life.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau indicated recently that this is an “extremely important issue” and that it’s time for the government to re-evaluate the current ban on surrogacy fees. Of course, this is a contentious topic in Canada with heated opinions on both sides of the issue. Proponents of the bill say the existing law is outdated and unnecessarily hampers women from doing what they want with their own bodies. Opponents argue that decriminalizing surrogacy fees would be immoral, and akin to commercializing women’s bodies.
If the measure passes, Canada will join surrogacy-friendly states in the U.S. that allow commercial surrogacy. U.S. laws differ widely from state-to-state though, with some states criminalizing paid surrogacy. Laws vary around the world, too. In some European countries, including Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Bulgaria, all forms of surrogacy are banned. In other countries, paid surrogacy is banned but altruistic surrogacy is allowed.
Before entering into a surrogacy arrangement in any state or country, it is important for both prospective parents and the prospective surrogate mother to understand applicable laws governing the arrangement. Working with an experienced, knowledgeable reproductive rights attorney is critical. Your attorney will work to ensure contractual agreements not only comply with the law; they will also help ensure your rights and best interests – and those of your future child or children – are protected. Contact us today to start the conversion.
Whether or not Canada will pass the new bill overturning the ban on paid surrogacy remains to be seen, but it’s an issue that’s sure to raise further discussion on both sides of the debate.