A Canadian MP has put forward legislation to decriminalise paying women to act as surrogates. The move is partly in response to the owner of a fertility agency being prosecuted and fined for illegally facilitating commercial surrogacy arrangements.
At present, although altruistic surrogacy is legal in Canada, commercial surrogacy is not. This is broadly similar to the legal position in the UK, where the intended parents can reimburse the surrogate's 'reasonable expenses' related to the the surrogacy arrangement and the pregnancy, but no more than that. Often, it is a friend or family member of the intended parents who acts as the surrogate.
Commercial surrogacy is hugely controversial. In the few countries where it is legal, particularly in the far east and eastern Europe, there are serious concerns that it results in the exploitation of poor and sometimes vulnerable women. It remains to be seen whether the proposed legislation in Canada makes any progress. Although the Law Commission is due to review UK surrogacy law over the next few years, it is very unlikely that commercial surrogacy is on the horizon in this country.
Canada politician seeks to decriminalise payment for surrogacy