Criminal Prohibitions in Canadian Fertility Law

Tuesday March 15, 2016

The Assisted Human Reproduction Act (“AHRA”) came into effect after years of national debate on reproductive technologies. It reflects the government’s concern that commercializing reproductive services and material undermines the sanctity of human life and leads vulnerable women to do things to their bodies that they will regret.

The law makes it illegal to pay surrogates and donors but legal to reimburse “expenses.” It is also illegal for third parties to “arrange” surrogacies for profit. There are no regulations explaining the true scope of these prohibitions and they are almost never enforced. Some say this creates much-needed wiggle room for those who want to compensate donors and surrogates for intangible costs. Others, particularly lawyers and service providers who want to comply with the law, complain the AHRA makes it impossible to figure out what’s legal.

Learning Objectives

  1. Not in my backyard? AHRA liability for cross-border and third party providers
  2. Enforcement and punishment under the AHRA
  3. What to do if investigators come knocking? Some practical tips

()Megan SavardSpeaker: Megan Savard

Megan is a lawyer at Addario Law Group LLP. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from McGill University where she studied English literature and North American politics and ran varsity track in her spare time.

She received her law degree from the University of Toronto. She was awarded the Nathan B. Strauss Q.C. Prize for Legal Ethics for her paper about the competence of counsel in criminal cases.

Megan articled with a prominent criminal firm in Toronto and worked as a law clerk at the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal. She has been practicing criminal law ever since. In 2013, Megan was one of the lawyers representing Leia Picard and Canadian Fertility Consulting Ltd. in the first prosecution under the Assisted Human Reproduction Act.