A Canmore, Alberta couple has launched a malpractice lawsuit that could affect Canadian law.

Cindy and Steve Martin are suing a doctor after their first child was stillborn in 1996. The couple is asking a judge to award them damages for their daughter's death.

Under Canadian law, a fetus is not considered a person until it is born and lives apart from its mother.

Blaine Schumacher, the Martins' lawyer, says he wants the court to acknowledge that a fetus has value.

"If you lose a car it has value, if you lose a thumb, its got value, surely if Cindy loses a fetus it would have value too," says Schumacher.

Medical experts will be called to testify about the trauma the Martins experienced after the death of their child.

The malpractice trial is expected to last about three weeks.