La Grande Perturbation: Nouveaux Défis en Droit de la Filiation

The legal and jurisprudential evolution of the Quebec civil law on filiation has been dynamic and avant-garde in these last few years, introducing new principles to define how filiation is established, which are quite distant from the classic blood ties which we believe normally circumscribe it.

Despite this modern and elastic approach, recent technological and social innovations have been presenting ever more complex challenges for the courts to adjudicate upon, which were heretofore unknown. With wondrous biomedical advances, infertile and same sex couples are now able to bear children who are not biologically related to one or both of them. The law must catch up to meet the needs of these new families.

In fact, there are many situations faced by same-sex couples, particularly male couples, or by persons donating gametes, which are still today in a grey zone of dubious legitimacy. Moreover, the rapid advances in techniques of medically assisted reproduction are creating ever newer complexities that still await the reaction of the legislator.

The juxtaposition of the two existing juridical paradigms, one based on sociological realities intended to respond to social needs, and one based on biological innovations, will frame this discussion. How will the Quebec civil law deal with the evolution of same-sex parenting, particularly for male-male couples; the possibilities of multiple contributors to the «projet parental»; the risks associated with «monoparentalité», «triparentalité», or, more frightening yet, «pluriparentalité»; and the resolution, at least partial, of the problem of the use or exploitation of surrogate mothers?