Is the Era of Anonymous Sperm Donation Over?
In the December 3, 2023 edition of the New York Times, reporter Emily Bazelon reports that anonymous sperm donation is "over" due the actions of activists around the country that are pushing for changes in several states to ban anonymous donations. These "activists" Bazelon reports, include persons born as a result of donation who wish to find out more about their personal backgrounds. The movement to ban anonymous donation is, of course, especially concerning to members of the LGBTQ community, given that 70 percent of the people who currently use sperm donation to create families consist of lesbian couples and single parents. The fear is based on laws in some states that will open the door to donors obtaining legal recognition as parents, undermining these existing family structures.
In past decades it was heterosexual couples with a sterile husband who were the largest users of donor sperm. Those couples wished to keep the donation not only anonymous, but a secret from anyone else, including their children as they saw this as a way to keep their family units intact and similar to those of their friends, family and neighbors. But times have changed and in some parts of the US gay and lesbian families do not have the same legal protection as other families, particularly where state laws prioritize biological relationships to the work of actually raising children.
Fortunately, California is not a state where this is an issue. California is one of 7 states in the US that have enacted the current version of the Uniform Parentage Act which protects families created in this manner (except where the parents allow the donor or a third party through their actions to establish the grounds to seek legal parentage). While Californians are mostly protected in this regard, it is still important to obtain counsel prior to embarking on a fertility process that involves donor sperm - and to make sure that you have proper legal documentation prepared as part of that process.
The Times article can be found at this link: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/12/03/magazine/anonymous-sperm-donation-genetic-testing.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share&referringSource=articleShare. Take a read to keep yourself informed and your family structure protected.