Susan Kootnekoff is the founder of Inspire Law, an Okanagan based-law practice. She has been practicing law since 1994, with brief stints away to begin raising children. Susan has experience in many areas of law, but is most drawn to areas in which she can make a positive difference in people’s lives, including employment law. She has been a member of the Law Society of Alberta since 1994 and a member of the Law Society of British Columbia since 2015. Susan grew up in Saskatchewan. Her parents were both entrepreneurs, and her father was also a union leader who worked tirelessly to improve the lives of workers. Before moving to B.C., Susan practiced law in both Calgary and Fort McMurray, AB. Living and practicing law in Fort McMurray made a lasting impression on Susan. It was in this isolated and unique community that her interest in employment law, and Canada’s oil sands industry, took hold.                                In 2013, Susan moved to the Okanagan with her family, where she currently resides. Photo: Contributed

Susan Kootnekoff is the founder of Inspire Law, an Okanagan based-law practice. She has been practicing law since 1994, with brief stints away to begin raising children. Susan has experience in many areas of law, but is most drawn to areas in which she can make a positive difference in people’s lives, including employment law. She has been a member of the Law Society of Alberta since 1994 and a member of the Law Society of British Columbia since 2015. Susan grew up in Saskatchewan. Her parents were both entrepreneurs, and her father was also a union leader who worked tirelessly to improve the lives of workers. Before moving to B.C., Susan practiced law in both Calgary and Fort McMurray, AB. Living and practicing law in Fort McMurray made a lasting impression on Susan. It was in this isolated and unique community that her interest in employment law, and Canada’s oil sands industry, took hold. In 2013, Susan moved to the Okanagan with her family, where she currently resides. Photo: Contributed

Kootnekoff: Assisted reproduction in Canada Pt. 2

The second part of a series on the Canadian regulations of reproduction

This week, we look at the Canadian regime that applies to third party assisted reproduction.

Surprisingly, this is a frontier in which the wild, wild west remains largely intact. Nail salons and cattle breeding are more closely regulated that the creation of human beings.

Historically, third party assisted reproduction in Canada has been under the purview of Health Canada. The original rationale was that infertility is a health issue.

Some studies suggest that the majority of those who seek third party reproductive assistance do so not because of health problems, but because they are LGBTQ or single.

Rather than focusing on the intended parents, we should instead be focusing primarily on the people to be born. Health Canada’s focus is not on protecting children.

The federal legislation has always been highly inadequate. After it was legally challenged, many of the federal provisions were repealed before even being brought into force. The provinces have not generally stepped in to fill the gaps.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that children’s best interests must be the primary concern in making decisions that may affect them. All adults, including those involved in making policy and legal decisions, should do what is best for children. When adults make decisions, they should think about how their decisions will affect children. No child is to be treated unfairly on any basis. A child has the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents, and to preserve his or her identity, including family relations without unlawful interference.

This is the most widely accepted international convention. Every country in the world, including Canada, has adopted it– with one exception: the United States.

The United States is home to the fertility industry that is accessed by many Canadians.

It is time for our provincial legislatures to urgently adopt a regulatory regime governing third party assisted human reproduction, which prioritizes protecting the best interests of the people to be born. These children are human beings with a need to know the complete and accurate medical and genetic history of both parents.

We actually have legal processes that do the exact opposite. For example, courts grant declaration of parentage orders allowing functional parents with no genetic connection to the child to be identified on the child’s birth certificate. The child’s tie with the genetic parent is legally severed. Some say the state ought not to encourage dishonesty. A birth certificate identifies only the legal parents, which may in fact be a biological fiction. Nowhere are biological parents required to be identified.

Pre-conception decisions affect the people created for their entire life, and have far reaching implications. At the time these decisions are made, they have no voice because they do not yet exist. These are children who are vulnerable. Government has a heavy responsibility to protect their best interests above all else. Intended parents, and those who provide their reproductive material, are often unaware of the issues and concerns that may arise. Without adequate regulation, there are few if any mechanisms to adequately educate them.

Those who were created by these means decades ago are now adults. Many express a deep human need to know their genetic history. The basic human need to know one’s genetic history is recognized in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is also recognized in the area of adoption. Why is it not yet recognized in the area of third party assisted human reproduction?

Does the fertility industry have anything to do with it?

While there are of course plenty of issues with the adoption system, the best interests of the adoptee is to be the primary consideration.

But, if you are conceived with the assistance of a third party’s reproductive material, there are currently few if any laws in Canada requiring anyone to protect your best interests.

There is not even a fox guarding this hen house.

In the next part, we will look at the minimum legislative changes needed.

Read part one here.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Asia Youngman (right) is pictured shooting another short film she wrote and directed titled Hatha. (Luba Popovic)
Peachland set to star in fantasy thriller film about N’xaxaitk’w — a.k.a. the Ogopogo

The film will follow an Indigenous teen as she navigates peer pressure, bullying and identity

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

Danny Fulton receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 27. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Drop-in COVID-19 vaccine clinic planned for Kelowna

Clinic at Kelowna Secondary School from June 22 to 24 from 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Jeanette Megens
KCR: Volunteering is sharing your story

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control in Electoral Area D starting next year

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read