Health Canada is inviting people to comment on its proposed changes to reimbursing egg donors, and surrogates as well as other updates of its assisted reproduction regulation.

Health Canada said Wednesday it wants to strengthen the 2004 Assisted Human Reproduction Act by writing regulations to:

  • Reduce the risks to human health and safety from using donor sperm and eggs (ova), including the risk of transmitting disease.
  • Make clear what expenses may be reimbursed to donors and surrogates.
  • Allow the regulator to appoint inspectors who will manage and enforce the act.

Health Canada said it is looking for comments on the proposal from Canadians. This includes people who use assisted human reproduction, members of the fertility industry, health-care providers, academics, researchers and fertility lawyers.

Comments are welcome until Sept. 9. 

Last October, the federal government announced plans to tighten rules governing human reproduction technologies that an increasing number of Canadians are turning to grow or build their families.

Currently in Canada, it is illegal to buy human eggs. 

Under the regulations, women donating eggs can be reimbursed for some expenses with receipts.

Health Canada said there's need to clarify the type and nature of the expenses donors and surrogates may be reimbursed for. This could include travel expenses, child care, counselling, legal services, shipping for sperm and eggs and medication, as well as maternity clothes and delivery expenses for surrogates.

The regulator also cited the need to review procedures, such as gene editing of sperm or eggs, in light of scientific advances.