Surrogacy Agreements: Is Regulation on Its Way?

In the News

Quebec’s family law reform is ongoing. In February, the government introduced a new bill which addresses surrogacy agreements, among other topics. But what are the current rules around surrogacy and how might the bill change them?

The current rules

Surrogacy agreements currently have no legal value in Quebec, unlike in other provinces. This means that the person who gives birth to the child is the legal mother whether an agreement was signed in advance or not. Only adoption of the child could change this.

For now, a surrogate mother could decide to keep the child at the end of her pregnancy if she wanted to. She could also choose to have an abortion during the pregnancy.

On their end, the intended parents or parent whose genetic material was not used for the insemination could decide to abandon the parental project midway.

The possible changes

If the bill is passed, surrogacy agreements will be legally valid in Quebec under certain conditions. For example, the agreement must be signed before the surrogate mother’s pregnancy. The intended parents or parent could then legally be recognized as the child’s parents through this agreement, without having to go through adoption.

While the intended parents will not be able to change their minds, the surrogate mother will have to confirm that she does not want to be the child’s mother after the birth. She must give this confirmation within a certain time frame, or she will remain the child’s mother despite the agreement.

What will remain the same?

Paying someone to be a surrogate mother is and will remain a crime in Canada. Intended parents can be accused of a crime if they offer payment under the agreement. On the other hand, surrogate mothers cannot be prosecuted since the law is in place to protect them.

However, the agreement could state that the intended parents will reimburse the surrogate mother certain expenses and loss of income. In these cases, strict rules apply to prevent intended parents from using the reimbursement of expenses as a way to pay the surrogate mother.

Did you know? The law evolves over time and with social customs. A bill does not automatically become law once it’s introduced. Many steps, votes and modifications take place before the bill is given assent and becomes applicable law.