Trudeau Liberals will consider lifting ban on sale of sperm: report
TORONTO, April 18, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — The Liberals are considering lifting the current ban on paying men to provide sperm for in-vitro fertilization, the Toronto Star reported last week.
“My sense after talking to my colleagues in the Liberal caucus is that there is an openness to amend the law,” said Anthony Housefather, Quebec MP and chair of the federal standing committee on justice and human rights.
Housefather’s remarks followed a Star report in which several Canadian women alleged they had purchased sperm in the United States from the Georgia company Xytex Corp and later learned, through the company leaking confidential information, that the sperm came from a man who was reputedly diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder and had a criminal past.
The 2004 Assisted Human Reproduction Act, brought in under Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin, criminalized the sale of human sperm and eggs, and banned surrogate pregnancy services, because, as Gwen Landolt of REAL Women explained, “you’re really in effect selling human life, so that’s why the Canadian legislation said no.”
Quebec subsequently challenged the law, stating that IVF, as health care, fell under provincial jurisdiction and not federal authority. But while the Supreme Court struck down some of the bill’s provisions, the prohibition against selling human sperm and eggs was retained, Landolt told LifeSiteNews.
“This is the transmission of human life,” she said. “You can do it on a volunteer basis, but to be paid for it, it becomes an industry.”
Moira McQueen, bioethicist with the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute, pointed out that the morality of IVF is “very straightforward from the Catholic point of view.”
“The actual procedure is considered intrinsically wrong,” because it separates the procreative and the unitive aspects of the conjugal act, she told LifeSiteNews.
Some people may think that the prohibition against the separation of procreative and unitive aspects of sexual intercourse is “very, very strict, and they often don’t see the reasons for it,” she said, but “I think our Church is absolutely correct.”
But looking at “these kinds of implications” that are inseparable from the pursuit of IVF, “they can see why it’s so important the two are kept together.”
Aside from the intrinsic immorality of IVF, the child so conceived is often unable to find out the identity of his or her “actual father,” and even if the child does so, the father often does not want to have anything to do with his biological children.
The child “is not the one people focus on, and yet the whole enterprise is driving towards, ‘I really want to have a child’,” McQueen told LifeSiteNews. “I find the whole business very strange.”
Landolt pointed out that while companies in the United States are permitted to sell human sperm, “the trouble is, they’re not properly regulated. Nobody checks these guys out.”
“The Canadian position has always been you don’t buy and sell human life,” she said. “The key is to make sure that sperm banks investigate, possibly into the medical background and have medical records, and not just go on the say-so of these guys who are doing it for money.”
Housefather told the Star that the justice committee has amendments to the Human Reproductive Act on a list of issues it may look into.
“Anything goes with this Liberal government,” said Landolt. “Nothing would ever surprise me what Justin Trudeau’s government will do.”
However, it’s expected that all other issues will be preempted by Bill C-14, on euthanasia and assisted suicide, which was introduced in Parliament April 14 and which the justice committee is expected to study in May.