Quebec pressed to do more to protect surrogate mothers

Quebec's Council on the Status of Women is recognizing the choice of women who want to to be surrogate mothers for altruistic reasons, saying the province needs to do more to protect them and their children.

Council on the Status of Women releases 15 recommendations to help surrogate mothers, children

Surrogacy is legal in Canada, but compensating a woman to carry a baby is not. (The Canadian Press)

Quebec's Council on the Status of Women is recognizing the choice of women who want to to be surrogate mothers for altruistic reasons, saying the province needs to do more to protect them and their children.

"We can't close our eyes: surrogacy for altruistic reasons is a reality in Quebec even if contracts of this nature aren't recognized by our laws," said Julie Miville-Dechêne, the council's president, said in a statement Thursday.

Currently, contracts drawn up between couples and surrogates have no legal value. Nothing prevents either of the parties from changing their minds at any point in the process, without suffering any consequences.

Article 541 of the Quebec Civil Code reads: "Any agreement whereby a woman undertakes to procreate or carry a child for another person is absolutely null."

That can leave serious questions hanging in the balance: What happens to the child? Who is responsible?

List of recommendations

The council released 15 recommendations for the province aimed at minimizing the risks involved for surrogate mothers, the child and the child's parents and cracking down on paid surrogacy. 

In particular, the council says parents should have a "financial responsibility toward the surrogate mother and the child if it abandons the project."

However, the council said it remains opposed to a women being paid outright to carry a child, saying it amounts to "exploitation of the female body."

Surrogacy is legal in Canada, as is reimbursing a surrogate mother for costs incurred during pregnancy.

However, paying a woman outright to carry a child is illegal. 

with files from The Canadian Press

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