A Manitoba couple's desire to have a baby through surrogacy is testing the limits of the province's auto insurance.

A crash involving a drunk driver in 2010 left Dawn Moffatt in a wheelchair, facing life as a quadriplegic.

After years of intensive therapy and rehabilitation in the U.S., she has recovered some muscle movement. Now, she and her husband, Terry, want to have a baby.

Moffatt can't carry to full term because of her medication, though. The drugs are so powerful that they would cause birth defects.

Having a surrogate carry the child in the U.S. would cost $100,000, but Manitoba Public Insurance won't cover it.

MPI won't discuss specifics of the Moffatts' file. However, a spokesperson said the insurer doesn't cover medical costs of an outside party like a surrogate mother.

"The only reason that Dawn can't carry her own baby is because of the accident. And through no fault of Dawn's, she's not able to carry a baby, so that's something that Manitoba Public Insurance should be funding," Terry Moffatt said.

Uphill legal battle

Winnipeg lawyer Bob Sokalski said the Moffatts have an uphill battle against MPI.

Because Manitoba has no-fault insurance, it means the amount paid out is limited, he said, and the case will be difficult to make since there is no court precedent.

"Since no fault has been in place, many, many lawyers have taken a run at MPI unsuccessfully. But … never say never," Sokalski said.

The Moffatts' best route might be to appeal directly to Andrew Swan, the minister responsible for MPI, he added.