The Council on the Status of Women (CSW) presented the government with a report, which was published on Thursday, in which it relaxed the position it has long since defended vis-à-vis surrogate mothers.
Highly opposed to surrogacy up to this point in time, the Council currently believes that this “reality can no longer be ignored”, it “does not generally lead to negative psychological consequences for surrogate mothers and their children” and that, therefore, “the best option is to set standards in order to protect the rights of surrogate mothers and their children more effectively”.
It made several recommendations:
· Still opposed to commercial surrogacy, it is asking the Federal Government to conduct “a genuine campaign against the commercialisation of female reproduction functions”, especially by instituting criminal proceedings against middle-men and intended parents who contravene federal law.
· To protect surrogate mothers, the CSW wants to introduce financial responsibility for intended parents who back out of a surrogacy project and legislation for “a surrogate mother to be the legal mother of the child if she so wishes” and to allow her to even “change her mind during pregnancy” and then for a certain length of time after the birth. According to the Council, the law should also protect mothers from any clause in any contract whatsoever.
· To “minimise the risks” surrounding surrogacy, the CSW is also suggesting “that surrogate mothers should have already experienced at least one normal pregnancy and childbirth” and advocates that the intended parents should undergo a mandatory psychosocial evaluation.
· As for child protection, the Council wishes to regulate the question of registration. The intended parents should be officially recognised but information relating to the surrogate mother should also be retained in the governmental register.
This is a reversal on the part of the CSW because the council remains opposed to the commercial practice of surrogacy, which it considers to be the “commercialisation of the female body”. Furthermore, as confirmed by Julie Miville-Dechêne, President of the CSF, the Council also believes that, “in this specific context and with the standards proposed, women can be considered to have a valid choice other than exploitation”.
Le Devoir (18/02/2016), La Presse (18/02/2016)