Ethics and Law SIG

The Ethics and Law SIG is an interprofessional and interdisciplinary group made up of ethicists, lawyers, academics, clinicians, and other professionals who are committed to the ethical and legal provision of assisted reproduction in Canada. This SIG encourages inquiry and discussion of the ethical issues surrounding human reproduction and fertility services, as well as the legal issues surrounding assisted reproductive procedures and techniques, and in particular third party reproduction.  It is also committed to promoting awareness and understanding of the relevant laws and policies, and providing learning opportunities for its members.

How to Join
The Ethics and Law SIG welcomes members from across a wide range of disciplines who have an interest in the ethical and/or legal implications of ART services. All members must be a member of the CFAS in good standing.

Shirley Levitan, LLB - Law Co-Chair

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Shirley has been practicing law in Toronto since 1988, with an emphasis on family law since 1991, and fertility law since 1996. She is a member of the Bars of Ontario (1988) and New York State (1991). Shirley received her undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto in 1981, and her law degree from the University of Ottawa in 1987. Shirley was a panel member for the Office of the Children’s Lawyer in Ontario for 6 years, and a licensee for private adoption. She is a former Chair of Collaborative Practice Toronto.

In the context of fertility law, Shirley has worked with clinics, hospitals, intended parents, egg/sperm donors and gestational carriers. She has been invited to speak at conferences and seminars in both Canada and the US, including the Ontario Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the National Judges Institute (Ontario), the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, the University of Toronto, the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, and the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys, of which she is an elected Fellow. Shirley currently sits on the A-SIG Executive of the CFAS. Shirley is one of the few lawyers in Ontario who has extensive experience in both family law and fertility law, and as a result, was asked to assist with reviewing and revising Bill 137 (Cy and Ruby’s Act), which amends Ontario’s current Children’s Law Reform Act. The amendments have direct and vital legal impact on Ontario families created using third party reproductive technology.

Shirley has worked with all manner of reproductive technology arrangements, and diligently ensures the required agreements conform with the changing legal landscape in Canada. Shirley is also a leading Canadian lawyer with respect to preparing and attending to court and government applications dealing with cross border, national and international, birth registration issues that arise in the context of assisted reproductive technology. Shirley is the first lawyer in Ontario to have obtained a parentage declaration in a surrogacy situation in which the intended parents had no genetic connection to the child.

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Shruti Gandhi, MD., FRCP (C) - Ethics and Law Co-Chair 

Dr. Shruti Gandhi is a physician of Indian Origin having done her MBBS from Maulana Azad MedicalCollege, New Delhi. She graduated in 1973 from the University of Delhi and after completing one year's Internship in January/1975, she started her Junior Residency in Surgery and Gynae-Obst in New Delhi. After completing the Junior Residency, Dr. Gandhi worked in India in a Government Clinic for few years.

After completing residency training, Dr. Gandhi was offered a job in an Infertility Clinic in Toronto. While working there she realized that many women of East Indian ethnic culture were suffering from Infertility and were subjected to abuse because of this problem. They were desperate to have a baby, had language and cultural barriers. Witnessing all this, she felt that she could help them since she also belonged to the same culture and spoke Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu fluently and understood some Gujarati, Bengali, etc. Most of the ethnic patients lived in Etobicoke, Brampton, Mississauga and North York regions of the GTA and found it very difficult to travel downtown. Since Dr. Gandhi also lived in Etobicoke, she set up a small Infertility Clinic in 1994 which was more accessible to the ethnic population living in these areas. In June 2008, she established a much larger state of the art facility in Etobicoke and worked there until early 2018.

Dr. Gandhi is now attached to various Medical Clinics in Etobicoke and Mississauga and continues to passionately help female patients suffering from the problem of infertility.

Kathleen Hammond, PhD - Secretary/Treasurer

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I am a B.C.L./LL.B candidate at McGill’s Faculty of Law. Prior McGill, I completed a PhD in Sociology from the University of Cambridge, for which I explored the market and regulation of assisted reproductive technologies in Canada. While completing my PhD I was a fellow at the Brocher Foundation, and a fellow of the Embryo Project at Arizona State University. I have been involved with policy development in the area of reproduction for organizations including the World Health Organization. I have shared my research through many different forums, including through webinars for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and of course, the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society annual meetings. In the winter semester, I will be running a fertility law course at McGill’s Faculty of Law.