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Assisted Reproduction and the Family Law Act

The Family Law Act (“FLA”) will largely come into effect in British Columbia in March 2013, and many areas of family law will see substantial changes.  Over the next weeks, we are going to be looking at what effect the FLA is going to have on one of those areas, that of Assisted Reproduction (“AR”).  AR is an expansive area of law covering such topics as surrogacy, artificial insemination via sperm donation, egg donation, in vitro fertilization and cytoplasmic transfer.  AR touches on complex social issues such as same sex parenting and particularly lesbian motherhood, the rights of children, the rights of women, the rights of non-biological parents and the strength of the biological and non-biological parents’ intentions.  Many AR technologies and techniques were either unknown or in their infancy when the Family Relations Act (“FRA”) was first passed in 1978, and the FRA was silent on many matters which now affect a great many people.   Simply by acknowledging the complexities and addressing the area, the FLA is far ahead of the FRA.  This is not to say that there will be no disagreements and conflicts – AR issues are nuanced and difficult.  But British Columbia will now have a starting point, something which has been sorely lacking.

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