News release

Updated Birth Registration Regulations for Female Couples, Surrogacy Arrangements

Service Nova Scotia

Both members of female same-sex couples will be able to register as parents on their newborn’s birth certificate starting today, February 21.

“The birth of a baby should be joyful. For far too long, the rules have made it hard for some parents to be recognized, legally and officially, as family. It’s long past time for that to stop,” said Colton LeBlanc, Minister of Service Nova Scotia. “These changes will mean parents can focus on what’s most important – raising their new baby.”

Until now, female couples who used a known sperm donor to conceive had to adopt for both parents to be listed on their child’s birth registration. Families who conceived using an anonymous sperm donor did not face this hurdle.

Under the updated regulations, for both parents to be named on the birth registration, a legal agreement must be signed by the sperm donor before the baby is conceived to ensure legal clarity on who has parental rights. Families who already have a pre-conception parentage agreement in place will not have to go through the adoption process.

Another regulatory change applies to families using a surrogate to conceive. They will still require a legal surrogacy agreement, signed before the baby is conceived. But under the changes, they will be able to apply to Vital Statistics to include the names of the intended parents on the birth registration, without a court order.

Quick Facts:

  • in 2023, 27 female couples registered a birth using assisted conception
  • 14 babies born using surrogacy were registered in 2023
  • naming both parents on the birth registration and birth certificate allows both to apply for a social insurance number, make medical and legal decisions on behalf of their child, and apply for a passport
  • getting a pre-conception parentage agreement costs roughly $1,000; applying to the court for adoption can cost $5,000 or more

Additional Resources:

Families with questions can contact Vital Statistics at:

To register a birth: