Canadian Laws on the Brink of Change. What Would it Mean for Your Family?

I am a canadian DI mom who used an anonymous donor.  At the time we were making our decision I knew nothing about the sperm donor system, its laws, the pros and cons, I was just a women who wanted a family, a women who was running on emotions, and fear and her heart.  Babies, a family, ending years of childlessness.  Since my first pregnancy I have become far more informed.  I can’t say I regret my choice to use the donor we did, because then that would mean I regret my children and that is just an impossibility.  I will admit however that I wish I had been more informed, that I had been able to find all the resources that I am now linked up to.  But c’est la vie, I was not!  What I can do now though is to make sure that my children are as informed as they wish to be.  They will be told that they were donor conceived and I will give them any and all information I can about the donor.  I will help them muddle their way through the information and help them try and gather more, if and when they wish to.

Here in Canada, we have recently had a very high profile case in British Columbia where a donor conceived women Olivia Pratten took on the Attorney General of British Columbia and College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia.  

In an online article posted on May 27, 2011 by Allison Motluck, she reported:

“In a 19 May ruling, the first of its kind in North America, the court sided with Pratten, who argued that the Canadian province’s laws discriminate against the offspring of anonymous sperm and egg donors because, unlike adopted people, they have no right to know their origins or prevent the destruction of records that would help identify their biological parents.

The judgment puts British Columbia on par with the UK and several other European nations, as well as the state of Victoria in Australia, in banning anonymous gamete donation. It is expected to spur changes in other provinces and may galvanise the offspring of American donors to attempt a similar challenge.”

“Madam Justice Adair gave the province 15 months to come up with a new adoption law that recognizes the rights of those conceived via donors. Currently, people adopted in the province can know the identity of their birth parents at age 19. People adopted in British Columbia before 1996, whose birth parents were given the promise of anonymity, have the opportunity to approach their biological parents with the help of the government, though those parents retain a veto. Pratten’s lawyer, Joseph Arvay, believes a similar arrangement will be put in place for people conceived via donor gametes and that records previously considered to be the mother’s medical records will now have to be turned over to a central registry. An injunction has been in place since October 2008, when Pratten first filed her suit, prohibiting the “destruction, disposal, redaction or transferring out” of donor records.” – this is a link to the Official Legal Document – A Link to Ms Pratten’s Website

As for me personally, this decision does not affect my family (yet) as we live in Ontario, but it looks as though for now families in BC who have donor conceived children no longer have a choice wether or not their children/future children will be able to access and know their donors.  I wonder how that will affect individuals/infertile couples/lesbian couples when it comes to having to choose how they create their families.  I wonder if it will make some people who would have told their children they were donor conceived second guess themselves and try and keep it a secret from them?

When we first entered into the world of DI, we did live in BC and we did get pregnant, but later lost that baby at 4 1/2 months into the pregnancy.  We then moved back to Ontario and our other children were conceived and born here.  I have thought about how I would have felt about a choice I made to choose an anonymous donor being taken away from me by “The Law”, even though I admit I was not well informed while making our decision, I also feel like it was our private choice and I don’t really care for the idea that the gov’t can come in and take that away from me…..but that’s a whole different blog, for a whole different day.

I was just wondering how other’s who are here in Canada or in a country that has adopted this as their law feel about their decisions being overturned.


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Allison Rouble’s Blog (my other blog) where I talk all things ‘Kids and Crazy’

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