Quebec focuses on the parentage of children born through surrogacy

Publié le 14 Oct, 2016

In Quebec, two judgements made a few days apart this summer are pressing the Government to adopt a “clear” stance on surrogacy. The Quebec Civil Code stipulates that, “Any agreement via which a woman undertakes to bear a child for another person is null and void”, but does not dissuade certain couples from approaching surrogacy services abroad.

 

In the initial judgement made in July, the Court authorised a Quebec man to adopt twins born to a surrogate mother in India. Only his “partner”, whose sperm was used, was recognised as the children’s “parent”. Quebec opposed the adoption “believing that the strategy used by the couple impacted upon human dignity by using the woman’s body as an instrument and treating the child as merchandise”. However, the Court held that “the issue of surrogate mothers should not be dealt with at the expense of the child”.

 

The second judgement concerned a couple who had approached a surrogate mother in Thailand. The mother whose name did not appear on the birth certificate, presented an adoption request to the Court. In this case, the Judge authorised the adoption explaining along the same lines that “babies should not have to pay the price of these discussions by being made half-orphans”.

 

The situation was presented in such a way that only one outcome is possible. Current legislation “encourages” the procreative tourism of Quebec couples, supporting the “appalling” market of surrogate mothers abroad. Judicial procedures are on the increase. Authorising surrogacy in Quebec would resolve all of these problems and “dissuade people in Quebec from turning to Asian ‘baby factories’”.

 

Justice Minister, Stéphanie Vallée, “suggests modifying the Civil Code to clarify the current legal confusion”. She presented the argument in the same way: “If recourse or the right to have recourse to a surrogate mother is deemed to be beneficial here, in Quebec, aren’t we turning our backs on bad practices”? She was supported by two bodies:

 

  • The Advisory Committee on Family Rights, which presented a report in June 2015 recommending a change to the Civil Code to recognise recourse to surrogate mothers and to consolidate the child’s parentage with the intended parents.
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  • However, the Commission on the Status of Women, which has long since been opposed to surrogacy, reached a decision in favour of “altruistic surrogacy” in February.

La presse (27/09/2016); Le Devoir (3/10/2016)

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