So Canada is about to create a new enforcement agency over the next few years. According to this piece in The Daily Scientist, along with Canada’s new laws that regulate stem cell and embryo research while banning human cloning, we’re going to have the “Assisted Human Reproduction Agency of Canada,” which will be responsible for issuing licences to scientists and ensuring compliance with the new law.
Apparently, this agency won’t be set up for awhile, so when the law comes into effect, it will be the job of police departments to provide enforcement.
It’s going to be illegal to sell sperm under the new law. Donating it is fine, but getting a few bucks for a few minutes labour is apparently a bad thing in Canada. I can just see it now – a new mom hears a knock on the door, and a guy with a gun is asking to take a peek at her financial records to ensure that she didn’t pay for the sperm.
If donating sperm and eggs is legal, I’ve never quite understood what made it so wrong to pay a person for their sperm or eggs. I took a quick peek at the bill as it stands to see if payment was actually defined. Sure enough, it is!
But first, let’s look at Section 7.(1):
No person shall purchase, offer to purchase or advertise for the purchase of sperm or ova from a donor or a person acting on behalf of a donor.
Section 3 defines “donor” as:
(a) in relation to human reproductive material, the individual from whose body it was obtained, whether for consideration or not; and
(b) in relation to an in vitro embryo, a donor as defined in the regulations.
Then, Section 7. (4):
In this section, “purchase” or “sell” includes to acquire or dispose of in exchange for property or services.
Hmmmm… that could really open up a can of worms. I didn’t peruse the bill closely, but I didn’t see any exemptions for husbands, wives, friends, lovers, or any one for that matter.
“No financial records indicating any monetary payment Chief. But I haven’t asked her yet if she provided any services in return for the sperm….”
Obviously (at least I’m sure it should be obvious), it’s doubtful that anyone is going to try to make this law apply in a broad sweeping fashion that makes normal day to day activities and agreements of individuals illegal.
But, if transferring sperm by way of donation is legal, why the heck is payment for the same stuff, wrong? And where does one draw the line at ‘services rendered’ for the donation? I guess this just requires one of those ‘acadamia’ types that our good friend, Bob The Civil Servant puts so much faith in, to create policy on.