Bioethics Blogs

CFAS Guidelines on Third Party Reproduction

Vanessa Gruben argues that the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society’s Guidelines on Third Party Reproduction offers important information for patients and the public about third party reproduction.


The Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS) recently published Clinical Practice Guidelines on Third Party Reproduction (Practice Guidelines). Third party reproduction refers to the use of sperm, eggs or embryos from a third party donor(s) or the use of a surrogate to build a family. Third party reproduction allows either individuals or couples to attain a pregnancy where they are unable to do so using their own gametes or uterus. This includes people who are suffering from medical infertility as well as LGBT families and single parents by choice.

The Practice Guidelines address many aspects of third party reproduction including, medical and infectious disease screening of donors, providers and surrogates,  the retention medical records, psychological counselling, and independent legal counsel. While not legally binding per se, these Practice Guidelines seek to fill in glaring legal gaps and offer greater certainty in clinical practice.

Take, for example, the retention of third party donor medical records. The current law in Ontario requires that medical records be kept for ten years from the date of the last entry in the record and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario recommends that physicians retain medical records for 15 years. Yet neither the law nor the College recommendations take into account the possibility that a donor conceived person may require access to his or her donor’s medical record well past either of these time lines because of the important information it contains about the donor conceived person’s family medical history.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.