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Biological parents face legal challenge

Many Canadian provinces are operating with out-of-date legislation that falls out of line with the needs of today’s families, Toronto fertility lawyer Sara Cohen says on CBC’s The National.

A Manitoba couple is currently fighting for provincial authorities to recognize them as the parents of their twin boys, who were born by a surrogate, the report says.

Lisa Seel, the boys’ biological mother, and Averill Stephenson, Seel’s sister and the surrogate mother, who carried two of Seel’s fertilized eggs, must now go through the courts to resolve the issue, CBC reports.

“Manitoba, like unfortunately a lot of the other provinces across the country, hasn’t really taken the time to update its legislation to be contemporary with the realities of the modern day family,” Cohen says in the report.

Seel was given two options by the Manitoba government: adopt her own children, which she refused to do, or challenge her sister’s parental status in court, CBC reports.

Who gets to register as the legal parent depends on the province in which the child is born, Cohen explains in the National Post.

“God forbid that one of the kids has a major medical need and the kids are staying with the intended parents and they go to a hospital and the staff won’t take instructions from these people because they’re not the registered parents ... They can’t give consent for life-saving measures ... They don’t have the same rights," she says in the Post.

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