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Ottawa Fertility Law - Great Expectations


“The (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered) community has always included parents, whether from prior different-sex relationships or within the context of same-sex relationships. Experts estimate that, currently, at least 30% of lesbians and one-tenth of gay men are parents, but the percentages are rising dramatically. We are in the midst of what many describe as a ‘gayby boom’ – so many gay and lesbian families are choosing to have children.”

Joanna Radbord, GLBT Families and Assisted Reproductive Technologies, 2010, Canadian Bar Association

According to Joanna Radbord, lawyers need to be culturally competent, to have knowledge of, and sensitivity to, the needs and concerns of LGBTQ communities to properly serve LGBTQ clients. We

In its current form, the federal regulation governing the processing of semen makes it more difficult for gay men’s sperm to be used in assisted reproduction. Men who have had sex with men in the five years prior to donation (as well as men who are over forty years of age) must have their sperm quarantined for 6 months.

This fact is contrary to the Canadian Charter and it is contrary to the guiding principles of the Assisted Human Reproduction Act, which says at section 2(e) that there will be no discrimination against homosexuals. The current appeal-level Ontario court decision upholds this unequal treatment. It has a disproportionate effect not just upon gay men seeking to create genetically linked children, but also upon lesbian women whose preference may be to use the sperm of known donors who are gay.