Family Law Blog

A Legal Guide to IVF Treatment in British Columbia

A Legal Guide to IVF Treatment in British Columbia

Thinking about assisted reproduction via IVF treatment? As family law experts, we receive a lot of queries about the legal position surrounding IVF. Let’s clear up some of the misconceptions.

Under British Columbia’s Family Law Act, a comprehensive set of rules regarding parentage were committed to law. These rules make a clear distinction between children conceived through sexual intercourse, and children conceived via assisted reproduction methods like IVF treatment. As such, different rules apply in both cases.

IVF in British Columbia

If a child is conceived through traditional methods, the parents are the birth mother and the biological father. Simple, right? When it comes to IVF treatment, an active decision needs to be made to conceive the child. This decision is typically the product of plenty of thinking. If the couple are using their own egg and sperm, they are both parents as they would have been through conceiving naturally.

Where a donor is involved (sperm donor, egg donor or embryo donor), the province states the donor will NOT be the parent. With assisted reproduction methods like IVF, the Province of BC places emphasis on the intentions of those involved.

One of the biggest benefits of BC’s Family Law Act is the freedom afforded to those using assisted reproduction methods like IVF to shape their own family makeup. If you need any legal advice on IVF or other assisted reproduction methods the team at Westside Family Law are standing by to assist.

The Federal Position

Signed into law in 2004, the Assisted Human Reproduction Act is the primary federal legislation that deals with IVF treatments. While the federal government leaves most of the nuts and bolts to the provinces, there are still some relevant points to discuss.

Sperm, Egg or Embryo Donors

Individuals cannot buy, or advertise to buy sperm or eggs. It’s also illegal to sell sperm or eggs. Written consent is also required when using donor sperm, eggs and embryos. Donor sperm must also be screened, frozen and put in quarantine for six months before it can be used at a fertility clinic.

Talk to the Experts

If you have any questions about the IVF treatment process in BC, the expert team at Westside is standing by to help. Contact us and we’ll be happy to assist.