Reimbursing a sperm or ova (egg) donor or a surrogate for expenditures related to donation or surrogacy
In Canada, it is illegal to purchase sperm or eggs from a donor (or person acting on behalf of a donor) or pay a female person to be a surrogate. However, donors and surrogates may be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenditures incurred because of their donation or surrogacy that are provided for in the regulations.
On this page
- Reimbursable expenditures
- Reimbursement of surrogate mother for loss of work-related income
- Requirements for making reimbursements
- Compliance monitoring activities
- Related links
Reimbursements are allowed for expenditures directly related to the:
- donation of sperm or eggs
- maintenance and transport of in vitro embryos (IVEs)
Examples of reimbursable expenditures that are provided in the regulations include, among others:
- groceries (except non-food items)
- maternity clothes
- donors and surrogates:
- drugs and medical devices
- travel costs
- insurance costs:
- legal and counselling services
- care of dependants or pets
- maintenance and transport of IVEs:
- maintenance, storage and container costs
Reimbursement of a surrogate mother for loss of work-related income
In order to help ensure the safety of the surrogate mother and the child, a surrogate mother may be reimbursed for the loss of work-related income incurred during the pregnancy, provided:
- a qualified medical practitioner certifies, in writing, that continuing to work may pose a risk to the mother's health or that of the embryo or fetus, and
- the reimbursement is made according to the regulations.
A surrogate mother may need to reduce or stop their employment. Once the above criteria have been met, surrogate mothers may be reimbursed for the loss of work-related income:
- for extended absences from work, such as doctor-prescribed bed rest
- for short absences from work, such as absences needed to attend regular doctor appointments
- for health and safety reasons
- during the pre-pregnancy period
- during the post-partum period
A detailed list of reimbursable expenditures as well as Health Canada guidance on reimbursements is available in the Guidance document: Reimbursement related to Assisted Human Reproduction Regulations.
Requirements for making reimbursements
The persons making reimbursements must obtain the following information before reimbursing a donor or surrogate:
- receipts for all expenditures that are reimbursed.
- supporting documentation, such as:
- a copy of the certification from a qualified medical practitioner to support the reimbursement of lost work-related income
- if applicable, written recommendation from a person authorized to practise medicine which supports expenditures for needed products or services
- if applicable, a copy of a written recommendation from a person authorized to provide health care to a woman during pregnancy, which supports expenditures for needed products or services
- a signed and dated declaration from the person requesting the reimbursement that provides details about the reimbursed expenditure such as the:
- type of expenditure
- amount requested
- date of incurred expenditure
Sample declaration forms are available in the Guidance document: Reimbursement related to Assisted Human Reproduction Regulations.
The person making reimbursements must maintain records of all documents for each reimbursement for six years, including
- copies of receipts,
- signed declaration forms
- all other reimbursement-related documents.
Health Canada may require a person to submit these records at any time.
Health Canada carries out compliance monitoring activities to:
- verify compliance with the relevant Act and Regulations
- respond to issues of non-compliance
- minimize the risk posed to the health of Canadians that could arise from the commercialization of the reproductive capabilities of women and men involved in reimbursement and the exploitation of children as commodities
You can find more information on compliance monitoring in Health Canada's Compliance Approach.
Health Canada will verify complaints and take appropriate compliance and enforcement action, which may include:
- compliance letters
- seizure of materials
- recommending prosecution under the Act
- referral to law enforcement
Any actions taken will be in accordance with the Compliance and Enforcement Policy. If you have questions about compliance and enforcement of the AHR Act or its associated regulations, contact the Biological Product Compliance Program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Assisted Human Reproduction Act
- Reimbursement Related to Assisted Human Reproduction Regulations
- Compliance and Enforcement: Assisted Human Reproduction
- Guidance document: Reimbursement related to Assisted Human Reproduction Regulations
- Compliance Approach for the Reimbursement Related to Assisted Human Reproduction Regulations (POL-0124)
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