Ova and Sperm Donation and Agreements
Certain aspects of ova/sperm donation are dealt with in the Canadian Assisted Human Reproduction Act. The Act states that purchase of ova or sperm from a donor, or from anyone on behalf of the donor, is illegal. However, expenses can be reimbursed. As with surrogacy, there is no legal definition for expenses yet.
Two types of ova/sperm donation exist:
- Known donation – the identity of the donor is known.
- Unknown or anonymous – the identity of the donor is not known
A new law has been introduced into Ontario, and is now in effect. The law provides, amongst other things, that a donor using assisted reproduction is not considered a legal parent. It also provides that if a donor donates using sex, he is not a parent IF there is a preconception written agreement.
In cases of known ova/sperm donation, despite the new law, it continues to be wise to get a written agreement between the intended parents and the donor, as there are other issues that would be dealt with, including: a) any required testing; b) medical disclosure; c) expenses; d) control of information; and e) intent for future contact with the child, if any.
With unknown donors, some clinics may require an agreement, and others may require written confirmation from a lawyer that you have been advised of the legal issues involved. More and more frequently, unknown donors are agreeing for his/her identification to be disclosed to the child once the child reaches 18.
It is important that both the donor, and the recipient(s) seek their own separate lawyer who is experienced in reproductive technology to assist with the legal issues involved with ova/sperm donation, and ensure they are aware of what is involved, and to prevent misunderstandings.
As an experienced reproductive technology lawyer, Shirley can assist you with the agreement, so as to ensure there is clarity amongst all involved, and to prevent misunderstandings along this very emotional journey.