29 Aug Post-Collision Fertility Issues

In Wilhelmson v. Dumma, 2017 BCSC 616, the Court considered damages for a young female Plaintiff.  She was the sole survivor of a horrendous, high-speed, head-on collision that killed three other people, including her boyfriend.  An air ambulance transported her to the hospital in Vancouver where she had emergency surgery for life-threatening injuries.  She spent one month in a medically induced coma and 39 days in acute care.  She underwent 10 surgeries in her first month in the hospital.  As a result of the collision, the Court found she was permanently and severely injured.

One of the issues at trial related to the Plaintiff’s fertility and her ability to carry a child.  Although she was fertile, the experts expressed concern about her ability to safely carry a child.  She had serious abdominal injuries that carried a significant health risk.  If she became pregnant, there was concern that she would develop abdominal adhesions, which can cause serious health complications.  Adhesions can occur when there is any trauma to the abdomen and the Plaintiff was prone to them. The experts did not recommend that she become pregnant.  The evidence indicated that surrogacy was the best option.

The Court found that the Plaintiff would be putting her health and welfare at great risk, to an unreasonable degree, if she were to carry a baby.  The Court agreed a surrogate was the best option.

ICBC disputed the surrogacy fee because it would be contrary to public policy.  The Court rejected ICBC’s argument.  While Canada does not allow paid surrogacy, it is available in the United States.  The evidence indicated surrogacy costs approximately $50,000 to $100,000.  The Court decided that an award at the low end for two pregnancies was reasonable and awarded the Plaintiff $100,000 for surrogacy fees.