Bill C-13 was passed Parliament in March 2004 and the Assisted Human Reproduction Act became law. It establishes a framework for regulating human biotechnology and reproductive technology and for prohibiting ethically unacceptable practices.
The Act contains long-awaited and important prohibitions on activities such as human cloning, commercial surrogacy and the sale and purchase of human sperm and eggs. However, the bill does allow human embryos to be destroyed for research purposes.
The Act also establishes the Assisted Human Reproduction Agency of Canada, a regulatory body responsible for licensing and inspecting activities controlled under the Act. Health Canada is currently engaged in consultations to develop regulations under the Act. In September 2005, Health Canada released the first set of proposed regulatory guidelines for section 8 of the Act, the last prohibition under the Act to be brought into force and the only one that requires the development of regulations. The Act lists prohibited and controlled activities, and it is the controlled activities that will be subject to regulations.
Section 8 prohibits the following activities unless a donor has given written consent:
• Using human reproductive material to create an embryo
• Removing human reproductive material from a donor’s body posthumously for the purpose of creating an embryo
• Using an in vitro embryo for any purpose
A compilation of the most frequently asked questions and their answers on Bill 13 (2012)