For the first time this summer, a gay couple in Quebec will become parents by way of a surrogate and the government's in-vitro fertilization program.
But once the baby's born, the couple may find it tough to legally become the baby's parents.
Quebec does not recognize contracts between prospective parents and surrogates, so if the surrogate decides to keep the baby at the end of the pregnancy the couple has no recourse, and the other way around.
The executive director of a group representing gay parents says that's a problem for all parents who choose to go the surrogate route.
“There are much more heterosexual couples that are using surrogacy, than there are gay couples, so I don’t understand why this becomes a gay issue, it shouldn’t be, it’s an issue that affects everybody,” Mona Greenbaum said.
Surrogates can't be paid anywhere in Canada, under federal law, but some other provinces, like Ontario, do legally recognize contracts that protect parents and surrogates.
Greenbaum says because of that many parents go to Ontario to have their child. But when they come back to Quebec, there are still legal hurdles to be dealt with, to become the baby's parents.
“We need to have legislation in Quebec about this, there’s a lot of vagueness,” she said.
“Our bodies, our functions, our bonds with our children are not for sale and this borders on selling a baby, so it’s unacceptable in my view," Dr. Margaret Somerville, the Founding Director of McGill’s Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law said about changing Quebec's surrogacy legislation.
“I think where we’ve gone wrong is that we’ve put the people that want the child at the centre of the decision making, you don’t hear a mention of is this the right or wrong thing for the child?”
Quebec’s health ministry did not return CJAD’s call.