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Politics Assisted-reproduction law to get rules update: Health Canada

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The federal government plans to tighten and clarify the regulations dealing with assisted reproduction.

Health Canada is outlining a number of proposed changes to the rules that are part of the 2004 Assisted Human Reproduction Act.

The act was the subject of a 2010 Supreme Court of Canada ruling, which found some parts fell under provincial jurisdiction, while leaving a number of sections intact.

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The court let stand portions concerning the protection of health and safety, enforcement and the reimbursement of donors and surrogates; the new regulations being proposed will bring those sections into force.

Among other things, they will clarify eligible reimbursible expenses for parties involved in surrogacy arrangements and semen and egg donation.

They will also update regulations governing the safety of donor semen and move them from the Food and Drugs Act to the assisted reproduction law.

Finally, the government plans to develop regulations for testing and screening egg donors and develop rules for tracing donations.

"The AHR Act was written to help protect and promote the health, safety, dignity and rights of individuals who use, or are born of assisted human reproduction," the department said in a release Friday.

In part, the changes respond to evolving technology, Health Minister Jane Philpott said in a statement.

"There have been major scientific advancements in these areas, which have benefited many Canadians as they build their families," she said.

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"Our laws need to adapt so that they can continue to protect the health and safety of Canadians. By adopting new regulations, we will continue to ensure that the risks posed are minimized and families are supported."

The government said it will accept comment on the proposed changes until Nov. 29. Later, interested parties will have another opportunity to offer suggestions once the regulations are previewed in the Canada Gazette.

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