Family Law Prof Blog

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

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

1st State Law on Right to Biological Information for Children of Donors

From Deseret News:

For the first time in the United States, babies who are conceived with help from donor eggs or sperm could soon have the right to learn their biological history when they become young adults. A bill just passed in Colorado says secrecy about family formation can be hard on children and hurt family relationships.

So starting in 2025, people who are conceived through egg or sperm donation in Colorado will be able, as adults, to learn the donor’s name and medical history and even form a personal relationship with the donor, if both are amenable.

The bill, which is awaiting Gov. Jared Polis’ signature, would make Colorado the first state to end anonymous sperm or egg donation. Senate Bill 224, which passed late Tuesday night, would also:

    • Require someone who donates sperm or eggs to be at least 21.
    • Limit the number of families a sperm donor can help to 25.
    • Limit a woman’s egg donation retrieval to six cycles at most, depending on medical risks.
    • Require sperm and egg banks to track births involving each donor.
    • Require sperm banks, egg banks and fertility clinics to be licensed starting in 2025.
    • Require clinics to maintain updated contact information and medical history of all reproductive tissue donors — or at least make a good-faith effort to update medical records and the donor’s address every three years.

If signed, children donor-conceived in 2025 could learn the identity of the person who aided their conception when they turn 18 in 2043. The law is not retroactive.

The Colorado law would also apply to out-of-state banks that provide the reproductive tissue, called gametes, to Colorado recipients. Both eggs and sperm are gametes.

...

The first artificial insemination in a U.S. hospital reportedly took place in 1884 in Philadelphia, according to a Donor Sibling Registry blog. The first successful egg donation occurred in 1983 at UCLA.

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What’s been a boon for many parents who wanted but could not conceive children without help has been, to a large degree, unregulated and even uncounted. No one mandates reporting of live births following fertility treatments. So “counts” of how many children are donor-conceived — a description used for anyone who is deliberately conceived using donated sperm or egg or both — amount to a maybe-good guess.

Naomi Cahn, a law professor at University of Virginia who has written extensively on family law topics, including reproductive technology and donor-conceived children, said half a million is an imprecise, but often-used estimate.

Cahn and Sonia Suter, a law professor at George Washington University, wrote about issues impacting donor-conceived children in The Conversation and noted they support the Colorado legislation.

Read more here.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/family_law/2022/05/1st-state-law-on-right-to-biological-information-for-children-of-donors.html

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