Peter A Allard School of Law

Exploring Canadians' Experiences of Assisted Reproduction: A Snapshot of Current Empirical Research Studies

Event Description

This panel will present preliminary results from four ongoing studies exploring Canadians’ experiences of surrogacy, egg donation, and egg freezing. While increasingly Canadians are turning to these practices to build their families or preserve their fertility, little is known about the experiences of surrogates, intended parents, egg donors and people who freeze their eggs. These studies, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, are the first of their kind in Canada and seek to inform law, policy-making, and clinical practices. A reception will follow the panel. 

Surrogacy Laws in Canada: Exploring Intended Parents’ Experiences and Perspectives 

Stefanie Carsley (Principal Investigator)

This project explores how Canadian surrogacy laws are affecting the decisions, behaviour, and experiences of Canadians who seek to build their families with the help of a Canadian surrogate. It draws on 35 qualitative interviews with Canadian intended parents (conducted between April and June 2022). These interviews offer new insight into intended parents’ experiences working surrogates, lawyers, clinics, agencies, and counsellors. They also shed new light on how intended parents understand and view Canadian surrogacy laws and policies.    

Surrogates’ Voices: Exploring Surrogates' Experiences and Insights   

Vanessa Gruben (Principal Investigator), Alana Cattapan (Co-Investigator), Stefanie Carsley (Co-Investigator)   

This project is the first large-scale study exploring the experiences of surrogates in Canada. The study explores: (1) who becomes a surrogate; (2) why and how they do it; (3) who works with surrogates; (4) surrogates' experiences prior to conception, during pregnancy and after birth; 5) whether and how Canadian surrogates may be vulnerable in these arrangements. The first part of the study is a national survey of 175 surrogates, which closed in summer 2022. The second part, which is currently in the recruitment and interview phase, consists of in-depth semi-structured interviews with surrogates.    

Ova Obscura: Egg Donors in Canada 

Alana Cattapan (Principal Investigator), Vanessa Gruben (Co-Investigator), Kathleen Hammond (Co-Investigator)   

Drawing on interviews with egg donors, this study is the first large-scale study on the process and outcomes of egg donation in Canada from the perspective of egg donors. In addition to generating much-needed data, the study also aims to provide space for egg donors to articulate their experiences, and to inform law reform and policymaking. We are currently in the recruitment and interview stage of the study (to be completed in March 2023).   

Elective Egg Freezing in Canada: Towards Appropriate Regulation Governing Consent 

Kathleen Hammond (Principal Investigator) and Alana Cattapan (Co-Investigator)   

This project is the first interview study of people’s experiences with elective egg freezing in Canada, and the first Canadian study to investigate egg freezing consent processes. The study has three objectives: 1) to examine and assess the effectiveness of clinic consent processes; 2) to identify the reasons why people freeze their eggs; 3) to inform law, policymaking, and clinical practices related to egg freezing, and to improve the circumstances of egg freezing for those who engage—or choose otherwise—in the future. We are currently recruiting participants and intend to interview 20-30 individuals who have frozen their eggs in Canada. 

  • Centre for Feminist Legal Studies
  • Research
  • General Public
  • All Students
  • Alumni
  • Faculty
  • Graduate Students
  • JD
  • Staff
  • Research Talks
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