Hello Canadians (currently more than half of those who regularly visit this blog 🙂 ) we just wanted to let you know about a current event that could have a huge impact on Embryo Adoption in Canada and to ask you to pray about possibly taking action response.
There are new Proposed Assisted Human Reproduction (AHR) Regulations currently being put forward in Canada. For the most part we have no issue with them as they make it illegal to create and sell embryos for financial gain. However, there is one part that doesn’t seem to take Embryo Adoption or (Open Embryo Donation in Canadian legalese) into account. They are not being treated the same as sperm and ova and it says that the only expenses a donor can legally be reimbursed for are storage and transportation of the embryos. Previously (as in our case) the recipient would also reimburse the donor for counseling expenses and for legal expenses in creating the legal contract around the transfer (same as those donating sperm and ova).
What the change means is that if a donor wants to provide their embryos for open embryo donation it could cost them thousands of dollars to do so, which is a heavy burden to put on people who are allowing their embryos to be adopted by prospective parents.
We agree that they shouldn’t make money on the donation, but feel strongly that there should be provision for the added expenses of the donation to be covered by the recipient. This will allow more embryos to be available for adoption and fewer to be destroyed.
You can find out more about the proposed regulations and how you can give your input online at the following links.
Our own response on the electronic questionnaire above is as follows:
5. If there are any other categories of expenditures that should be considered for reimbursement, please describe them and explain why below.
As a recipient of donated embryos (2) and the new father of a healthy baby boy, I believe that the donors of embryos should have the same reimbursement rights as the donors of sperm and ova. It makes no sense to me why sperm and ova donors should have the right to be reimbursed for counseling and legal expenses but the donors of embryos shouldn’t. It seems to make it harder for people to do embryo donation (especially open embryo donation where genetic siblings grow up aware of each other and any medical conditions that develop) by putting an extra burden on the donors to pay for their own legal and counseling expenses. It seems like it would decrease the supply of embryos available for donation as more and more potential donors will choose their destruction rather than making them available for donation due to the increased expense at the end of what has already been an expensive procedure (their own IVF).
Thanks so much for reading this and for your considered response. I’ll be cutting and pasting an email we received from Beginnings regarding this below.
Rusty, Alexis and Russell Jr.
BEGINNINGS NEEDS YOUR HELP. After 14 years without clear regulations governing the infertility field, the federal Department of Health has just published the new proposed regulations for the Assisted Human Reproductive Act (AHRA). Unfortunately, the government is not treating embryo donations the same as sperm and egg donations and has only allowed two expenses for embryo donation – shipping and storage. What the new regulations will not allow for is reimbursement for legal advice or legal agreements or for counselling for our embryo donors. WHAT THIS MEANS – the donors, who are altruistically donating their embryos, will now have to pay for these costs themselves. The recipients/intended parents will no longer be allowed to cover these costs. Nor could Beginnings. In OPEN embryo donation, we believe that it is critical that all of our embryo donors receive counselling, an assessment and legal consultation. This change in the regulations seems to suggest that the government has no understanding of how open, child focused embryo donation works.
WE NEED YOU to go to the government website and to provide feedback.
Here’s the link to provide your feedback Urge the government to add counseling and legal advice to the list of allowable expenses for embryo donation. Donors need these services but they should not have to pay for them out of their own pockets.
You could also contact your local MP, the federal Minister of Health (Ginette Petitpas Taylor), or anyone you know in the Department of Health.
Without your help, our embryo donation program could be gravely impacted. 1 in 6 people in Canada is impacted by infertility. Beginnings has worked with 53 donors, had 42 matches, and seen 17 babies born with 5 more on the way.
Thanks for anything you can do to let the government know how important open embryo donation is and how important it is to have multiple options for Canadians to build their families. Insist that embryo donors get treated fairly. The more feedback the better! Please feel free to share this email widely.