The Trudeau government is proposing new regulations that would lift a lifetime ban on men who have sex with other men from donating their sperm anonymously to Canadians struggling with infertility.
The proposed changes, up for review through public consultations, could also see surrogate mothers reimbursed for more of the expenses they face in trying to help people build their families.
Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor says the new regulations under the Assisted Human Reproduction Act, if enacted, will help protect the health and safety of women and children while offering Canadians flexibility in how they use reproductive technologies.
The Assisted Human Reproduction Act came into force in 2004 but some parts have since been deemed unconstitutional.
Critics have complained the law creates costs and inconveniences for parents trying to have children, while failing to manage risks.
It is currently illegal to pay for sperm or eggs donated in Canada, but would-be Canadian parents can buy them from fertility clinics in the United States where compensation is legal.
As well, surrogate parents in Canada aren’t allowed to charge for their services, but can be reimbursed for limited medical or other expenses.
Liberal MP Anthony Housefather introduced a private member’s bill in the spring that would make it legal for egg and sperm donors to be paid.
The legislation, Bill C-404, has not passed first reading in the House of Commons.
WATCH: Canadian surrogates Stephanie Aubry and Sharon Hunter explain why they’ve chosen to bear children for other families.