Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznare
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Friday, August 16, 2013

CA Bill on Sperm Donors

From the Los Angeles Times, by law professors Naomi Cahn and June Carbone:

When does a man become a father — the legally recognized parent of a child, responsible for support and eligible for custody? Historically, parenthood has involved something more than simply a biological connection. In some eras that meant the law recognized only fathers who married the mothers. Today, recognition extends to unmarried parents who raise a child together.

The new question on the table is whether it extends to a man who donates sperm to a woman and establishes a relationship with the child. Does he become a father if the child calls him "Daddy," or does it require something more?

This is the issue addressed by SB 115, scheduled for a hearing in the California Assembly this week. The bill is inspired by actor Jason Patric's efforts to obtain custody of Gus, the son born to a former girlfriend through assisted reproduction. State law says a man is not a parent if he donates sperm to a woman other than his wife with the help of a doctor. At the time the law was passed, in vitro fertilization did not exist.

Read more here.


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