Building a family after cancer: The role of fertility law
While a cancer diagnosis can take away future dreams and plans, it doesn’t have to take away someone’s ability to build a family, says Toronto fertility law lawyer Sara Cohen.
In a recent article for the Cancer Knowledge Network, Cohen provides a primer on Canadian fertility law for cancer survivors, including steps that they can take to preserve and protect their fertility prior to or during cancer treatment. Read Article
“Cancer survivors whose fertility has been compromised may require the use of one or more methods of assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) in order to have a child. Female survivors fortunate enough to cryopreserve their ova (or embryos created using their ova), may be able to have biological children either by using in vitro fertilization (I.V.F.) and carrying their own child, or, where necessary, having the embryos transferred to the uterus of a gestational carrier to be carried on behalf of the intended parents,” says Cohen.
But while altruistic surrogacy and egg donation are legal in Canada, Cohen says paying a surrogate for her services, or an egg donor for her eggs, is criminalized under the Assisted Human Reproduction Act.
Given the “gaping holes” in fertility law in Canada, says Cohen, a fertility lawyer can help cancer survivors navigate these murky waters.
“A good rule of thumb is that you need to engage a fertility lawyer as soon as you require a third party to be involved in your reproduction, whether it be in the capacity of an egg donor, sperm donor, embryo donor or surrogate,” she explains.
“Not only can a fertility lawyer be a great source of information and knowledge, but the Act and its prohibitions come into play early on in the process by prohibiting, among other things, advertising for the purchase of eggs, sperm or embryos and offering to pay a surrogate mother,” she adds.