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Members of the LGBTQ community can choose from many options in order to build their families.
Through the hard work of a few individuals, surrogacy for gay couples in Ontario has become ordinary and commonplace. Although Sherry Levitan’s practice statistics may not accurately reflect gay surrogacy in Canada, in a typical year 20% of her surrogacy clients are gay men, both couples and singles.
Lesbian couples often turn to known sperm donation in order to conceive their children. Although sperm donor agreements may not be enforceable with respect to custody, all parental rights should be discussed and documented in advance. At the very least, lesbian couples should consult with a lawyer in order to learn how to maximize the chances that the parties’ intention with respect to parentage, custody, information and access becomes reality.
“Inter-spousal donations” are less common, but sometimes one of the lesbian partners will carry a child that is genetically linked to her partner. IVF is necessary to achieve this result. Many IVF clinics will treat the situation as an ovum donation or as a surrogacy, but both approaches are inappropriate. If you are contemplating this procedure, ensure that the medical consents are clear and accurate. In the event of a breakdown of the relationship and a custody dispute, inappropriate medical consents can later be used in court as evidence of intention. Insist on accurate documents.
In Ontario, the post-birth process for LGBTQ surrogacy clients is exactly the same as for the heterosexual community. As birth registration is governed at a provincial level, please consult with a lawyer to review the particulars of your arrangement.