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Assisted Human Reproduction Act [Canada]

In Canada, PGD was not regulated until the enactment of the Assisted Human Reproduction Act (AHR Act) in 2004. This Act provides, "No person shall knowingly for the purpose of creating a human being, perform any procedure or provide, prescribe or administer any thing that would ensure or increase the probability that an embryo will be on a particular sex, or that would identify the sex of an in vitro embryo, except to prevent, diagnose or treat a sex-linked disorder or disease." (Art. 5(1)(e)). Sex-selection for non-medical purposes, therefore, is strictly prohibited. Concerning access, Canadian law does not discriminate based on sexual orientation or marital status. Preserving human individuality and diversity as well as the integrity of the genome are also fundamental principles protected by Canadian law.

The AHR Act establishes a broad regulatory and licensing framework for PGD, mandating that the individual licensed to undertake PGD be qualified as specified in regulations still to be developed. The AHR Act, provides the regulations and licensing framework for the use of PGD in Canada. The Assisted Human Reproduction Agency of Canada (AHRAC), created under the AHR Act, is in charge of renewing, amending, suspending or revoking licenses regarding PGD. However, the agency is not yet in operation.

PGD is also permitted under professional guidelines in Canada. The Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society/Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada joint report on assisted reproduction (1999) recommends that sex determination by PGD be only available for medical reasons and that PGD not be used for eugenic purposes. The Prenatal Diagnosis Committee of the Canadian College of Medical Geneticists (CCMG) and the Genetics Committee of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) have established guidelines recommending indications for PND which include: increased risk for chromosome abnormalities, neural tube defects, biomedical and molecular indicators, and results of carrier screenings ("Canadian Guidelines for Prenatal Diagnosis: Genetic Indications for Prenatal Diagnosis," 2001). The Practice Guidelines for Health Care Providers involved in Prenatal Screening and Diagnosis (1998) also require that women or couples with ethnic backgrounds with an increased risk of certain single gene disorders be provided prenatal screening and diagnosis.

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