Removing barriers for sperm and ova donors


Ottawa – Many people including those experiencing infertility, single parents and same-sex couples, may choose assisted human reproduction, including the use of donated sperm and ova, as a way of growing their families.

Mark Holland, Minister of Health, is announcing that Health Canada’s updated screening criteria for sperm and ova donors have come into force, integrating the latest scientific evidence and input from consultations with subject-matter experts in donor screening, industry, patient associations, and 2SLGBTQIA+ groups.

In 2022, Health Canada approved submissions from Canada’s two blood operators, Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec, to eliminate the blood donor deferral period for men who have sex with men (MSM) and other individuals affected by the previous deferral policies. Today’s announcement builds on that progress and is a step forward in reducing barriers that prevented many individuals from donating sperm. The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that its sperm and ova donation policy is safe, inclusive and scientifically based.

Health Canada is working with the Canadian Standards Association to discuss potential changes to the MSM donor screening criteria for cells, tissues and organs (CTOs), that are under current consideration by experts in the field of CTO donation. The Government of Canada is working toward a more inclusive donation system that is supported by the recent advancements in scientific evidence.

“Our government is committed to continuing safe, inclusive, and scientifically-based sperm and ova donation policies. By following the latest evidence and science, we are ensuring that the sperm and ova supply is stable to allow all Canadians to grow their families.” – Mark Holland, Minister of Health