Reproduction and Fertility is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal
Page URL:

Canadian Senate approves ART bill

8 March 2004
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 248

A Canadian Senate committee has unanimously passed legislation on assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) and related matters. Approval by the Senate virtually guarantees that the Assisted Human Reproduction Act - which has been  years in the making - will receive Royal Assent and become law.

Last October, bill C-13, entitled 'an Act respecting assisted human reproduction and related research', was passed by the Canadian House of Commons by 149-109 votes, after almost ten years of debate and despite vigorous pro-life opposition. The legislation was reintroduced last month, having stalled  in its passage when former prime minister Jean Chretien retired and prorogued Parliament in November. Paul Martin, the new Prime Minister, previously voted in favour of the bill and, when the new session of Parliament began, sent it back to the Senate for consideration.

The Canadian legislation bans human cloning (for both reproductive and therapeutic purposes), the creation of human-animal hybrid embryos, sex selection of embryos for non-medical reasons, payments to women acting as surrogates, payment for donated gametes and the buying or selling of human embryos. It also regulates the collection, alteration, manipulation or treatment of any human reproductive material for the purpose of creating an embryo, storage of reproductive material and information about donors. Under the Act, donors must give fully informed written consent before their gametes or embryos are used, and children born following donation will be entitled to receive medical information about the donors. Donors will be identifiable only if they consent to be so. In addition, the act allows embryonic stem cell (ES cell) research to take place on surplus IVF embryos, but prohibits the creation of embryos specifically for stem cell derivation. It also establishes a regulatory body, the Assisted Human Reproduction Agency of Canada (AHRAC), which will license, monitor and enforce the new law and store data on ARTs, in a similar way to the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). Also built into the Act is a provision stating that it must be reviewed - and may therefore be altered - in three years time.

Pierre Pettigrew, a Canadian health minister, said the new Act - the first of its kind in Canada - 'fills a legislative void' and brings Canada into line with other nations that regulate ART. A spokesperson for Health Canada said that it 'represents a balanced, reasonable and principled approach'. Welcoming the legislation, Diane Allen, director of the Canadian Infertility Network, said 'this is going to bring in safeguards for fertility patients, for their children, for society as a whole'. But others say it means 'devastating news' for infertile couples: 'There was so much pressure to push through the aspects against cloning, that I don't think they listened to how this is going to affect infertile men and women', said Jan Silverman, an infertility counsellor.

Human reproduction bill clears Senate hurdle
CTV |  4 March 2004
Infertile couples disappointed with cloning bill
CTV |  18 April 2021
Senate committee okays human-reproduction bill
Globe and Mail |  3 March 2004
23 May 2011 - by Sarah Pritchard 
Anonymous egg and sperm donation will no longer be permitted in British Columbia (BC), Canada, after a donor-conceived woman, Olivia Pratten, took the provincial government to court to argue that its adoption laws discriminated against individuals such as herself....
7 June 2010 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
A third board member of Canada's fertility industry regulator, the Assisted Human Reproduction Canada (AHRC), has resigned. Irene Ryll, the agency's consumer representative, resigned from her duties leaving critics to call for a public investigation into its operations, or lack of...
7 June 2010 - by Professor Jocelyn Downie 
In the past three months, three members of the Board of Directors of Assisted Human Reproduction Canada (AHRC) have resigned. This set of resignations is cause for serious concern and requires urgent attention from the federal Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Parliament itself....
17 May 2010 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
Canada's fertility licensing and regulatory body, Assisted Human Reproduction Canada (AHRC), has come under fire from lawyers and doctors who are finding the country's fertility laws vague and uncertain, the National Post newspaper reports...
22 March 2010 - by MacKenna Roberts 
The Canadian ban against women selling their eggs as a source of eggs for fertility treatments is reported to be systemically flawed in practice, according to an expose article published in the April 2010 edition of the Canadian magazine The Walrus. Journalist Alison Motluk interviewed egg 'donors' and recipients, fertility experts and regulators, revealing that the Canadian ban is as farcical as its loose interpretation of the word 'donor'. The article attributed the discrepan...
16 February 2004 - by BioNews 
The Canadian federal government has reintroduced its bill on assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) and related matters. Last October, bill C-13, entitled 'an Act respecting assisted human reproduction and related research', was passed by the Canadian House of Commons by 149-109 votes, after almost ten years of debate and...
30 October 2003 - by BioNews 
Having stumbled in its passage through parliament earlier this month, Canada's long awaited legislation on assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) and related matters has finally been passed by the Canadian House of Commons. Bill C-13, entitled 'an Act respecting assisted human reproduction', was first introduced to the Canadian parliament in...
to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.