Colorado is poised to become the first state in the United States to guarantee children conceived by egg or sperm donations to know the identity of their biological parents.
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Coloradans conceived with eggs or sperms donated after 2024 will be able to learn the identity of their biological parents when they turn 18. Currently, California and Washington, allow but don’t require donors to disclose their identities.
The Senate Bill 224, the first of its kind nationwide, was introduced last week. It also required fertility clinics to take steps to ensure donors can’t be used to establish more than 10 families. If passed, the bill will bring Coloradans the same rights as other countries, like Britain and Australia, afford citizens, said Naomi Cahn, a University of Virginia School of Law professor.
The bill hoped to eliminate the lack of regulation and information that can leave people conceived without having full knowledge of the medical profiles of their donors. Senate President Steve Fenberg said Bill 224 would resolve the problem of anonymity.
In worst cases, anonymity offers a curtain of secrecy that lets a donor lie about their academic or medical history, and that some have discovered using new DNA testing kits that they have dozens of half-siblings.
The bill came after Colorado outlawed fertility fraud in 2020 in response to a fertility doctor who used his sperm to impregnate multiple women who were his clients without their knowledge. The 83-year-old doctor, Paul Jones, was believed to have fathered at least 17 children with 12 women using artificial insemination from 1975 to 1997. A jury in Colorado Wednesday awarded US$8.75 million on to the plaintiffs in a civil lawsuit against the doctor.
Besides, at least 50 fertility doctors in the United States have been accused of donating sperms after commercial DNA testing became more widespread. Several states, including Texas and Indiana, have recently passed laws to crack down on fertility fraud after similar reports surfaced.
Currently, the U.S. fertility market is estimated to be an US$8-billion industry, including in vitro fertilization (IVF), genetic testing, reproductive tissue storage, and donor services. IVF services are projected to grow at a 10-percent rate through 2024. There are 42 fertility clinics and four gamete banks in Colorado.