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Colorado bans anonymous sperm and egg donation from 2025

Jen Willows

Progress Educational Trust

24 May 2022

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[BioNews, London]

Colorado has passed a bill that will give donor-conceived people the right to access information about their donors.

If Governor Jared Polis signs the bill into law, the 'Donor-conceived Persons and Families of Donor-conceived Persons Protection Act' will allow all children conceived with donor gametes from 2025 onwards to access medical history and identifying information about their donor when they turn 18.

'We want to make clear that someone whose donating sperm or egg will no longer be anonymous,' said Representative Matt Soper, who sponsored the bill. 'Through technologies that are out there, they need to understand what the ramifications are of making the decision to be a donor'.

The bill also brings in regulations requiring sperm banks and fertility clinics to be licensed and to maintain records of donors' medical records and contact details as well as children born from each donor. The number of families that can be created from a single gamete donor will be limited to 25, and egg donors will be limited to a maximum of six egg retrieval cycles. 

Part of the rationale for this bill is the availability of commercial DNA testing companies that allow donor-conceived people to find out they are genetically linked to people they may not have expected, as well as connect to genetic half-siblings who share the same donor.  

'As the technology makes it easier for people to find out that their legal parents are not their genetic parents, there is increasing interest among donor-conceived people to have access to this information,' said Professor Naomi Cahn who specialises in family law at the University of Virginia. 

Some people have discovered larger numbers of half-siblings, which is why the bill seeks to limit the number of families each donor can help. 

In 2011 Washington became the first state to allow donor-conceived people access to their donor's identity and medical history from age 18, and others have followed, but all permit donors to opt out of having their details shared.  If the bill is signed, Colorado would be the first to remove that option. The act will not be retroactive, however, so donors of children already born, or who will be conceived before 2025 will be able to remain anonymous. 

One concern that was voiced in opposition to the bill is that the removal of anonymity could mean that fewer people are willing to donate in future. However, through direct-to-consumer genetic testing many people are able to identify their donor anyway:

'The promise of anonymity is elusive,' said Professor Cahn. 'Yes, a clinic can promise not to reveal that information, but that then doesn't mean that someone who engages in this genetic testing won't then find the donor and perhaps reach out.'

SOURCES & REFERENCES

Colorado lawmakers approve removing anonymity in sperm, egg donations
Colorado Gazette |  10 May 2022
Colorado Senate passes Donor-Conceived Person Protection Act
Ark Valley Voice |  9 May 2022
Protections For Donor-conceived Persons And Families
Colorado General Assembly |  10 May 2022
Should young adults know their sperm or egg donor? Colorado thinks so
Desert News |  13 May 2022
States allowing sperm donors' identities to be released
Denver ABC |  10 May 2022



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© Copyright Progress Educational Trust

Reproduced with permission from BioNews, an email and online sources of news, information and comment on assisted reproduction and genetics.

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Date Added: 24 May 2022   Date Updated: 24 May 2022
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