The Childrens Law Act, 2020, SS 2020, c 2 (“Act”) came into force on March 1, 2021. The Act updates the previous legislation, The Children’s Law Act 1997 to reflect the realities of assisted reproduction, such as surrogacy, sperm donation or egg donation.
The Act outlines the laws regarding who is, and is not, recognized as a legal parent of a child. The previous Act stated that the person giving birth to a child is presumed to be the child’s mother. The previous Act also listed the circumstances in which a man would be presumed to be a child’s father. Those presumptions could be challenged in court and the court could declare that someone is or is not recognized in law as a child’s mother or father.
In assisted reproduction circumstances, the current Act now allows for parentage to be pre-determined through a parentage or surrogacy agreement, provided such agreement meets the Act’s requirements. Regardless of biological connection, the persons intending to be the child’s parents under the agreement would also be recognized as the child’s parents under the law.
A further effect of these legal changes is that parentage is no longer restricted to one man and one woman. A person’s gender does not affect their ability to be recognized as a parent.
Among other legal requirements, a valid parentage or surrogacy agreement must be entered into before the subject child is conceived and after the parties have received legal advice respecting the proposed agreement.
If you are considering having a child through assisted reproduction, or are considering being a surrogate, sperm donor or egg donor, it is important to have the right legal advice early on. Our family law lawyers would be pleased to help you navigate through the legal requirements.
This article is for informational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice, and does not create a solicitor-client relationship. W Law LLP does not make any guarantee about the accuracy or completeness of the information contained herein.