U.S. Donor Conceived Council is thrilled to celebrate Colorado’s landmark passage of the “Donor-Conceived Persons and Families of Donor-Conceived Persons Protection Act,” the first act in the United States focused on protecting the rights of people conceived using sperm, eggs, or embryos provided by unknown third parties.
The act will give adult donor conceived people the ability to obtain the identity of the donor used to conceive them and sets an enforceable limit of 25 families (in or outside of Colorado) for any one gamete donor, with no limit on the number of children born per family. The act will be prospective from 2025 with no impact on prior donations.
Other notable provisions of the act will require gamete agencies, banks, and fertility clinics to obtain a Colorado license and periodically request updates from donors on their medical history and contact information. Additionally, records on sperm and egg donors will be subject to permanent retention. This will help ensure that donor conceived persons will have ongoing access to their updated family medical history.
In another first for the U.S., the act will require gamete agencies, banks, and fertility clinics to provide educational materials to potential donors and parents on the needs and interests of donor conceived persons, including how openness with a young child about their donor conception can improve their well-being and family dynamics. Too often, donors and recipient parents regret their lack of awareness regarding these issues, and this act will help all parties involved in gamete donation make healthy and informed decisions.
“More than a million people in the United States have been created via sperm and egg donation with little consideration to their future needs or interests, including learning the identity of the person who contributed half of their DNA and having access to accurate medical information,” said Erin Jackson, president and chief executive officer of USDCC. “With the passage of this bill, the industry can no longer ignore our voices.”
The bill was introduced by State Senate President Stephen Fenberg (D) and co-lead sponsored by Sen. Bob Gardner (R), Rep. Kerry Tipper (D), Rep. Matt Soper (R). Along the way, the bill gained overwhelming bipartisan support. In the Colorado Senate, the bill passed unanimously with 19 additional Senate co-sponsors. In the Colorado House of Representatives, the bill passed with sweeping bipartisan support with a vote of 53-12 and 31 additional co-sponsors.
“Anonymity is a promise that cannot be kept due to the popularity of at-home DNA testing,” said Colorado State Senate President Stephen Fenberg. “This bill recognizes this reality and affirms that while shared DNA does not always make a family, the identity of the donor is important to the health and identity of many donor conceived persons.”
USDCC spearheaded passage of the groundbreaking act, working closely with Senator Fenberg for months to draft the bill, build support for the key measures with other interested stakeholder groups, and assemble a bevy of witnesses and experts to testify before the various committees.
The success of our grassroots advocacy efforts was made clear when, prior to the bill’s final read in the House of Representatives, Minority Leader Hugh McKean (R) thanked people who emailed in support of the bill, noting that the bill “became important because people reached out.” McKean added that the concerns of donor conceived people are “real.”
Today, USDCC celebrates this historic first step in the United States to protect the needs and interests of donor conceived people. Thus, we want to thank the legislators and the individuals and groups who collaborated with us during the process and/or otherwise supported the bill. These groups and individuals include, but are not limited to (in alphabetical order):
Adoption Search Resource Connection; Advocate Genetics; Amanda Troxler, Esq.; California Cryobank; Carole LieberWilkins, MFT; The Center for Truth and Transparency in Adoption; COLAGE; Colorado Fertility Advocates; Dr. Damian Adams; Dr. David Velleman, John Hopkins University; Donor Conceived Alliance of Canada; Donor Conceived Australia; Donor Conceived Community; Dr. Diane Tober, University of Alabama; Dov Fox, University of San Diego School of Law; Fairfax Cryobank; Family Equality; Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD); Gifted Journeys Egg Donation; Headwaters Strategies; Jana Rupnow, LPC; John Weltman, Founder, Circle Egg Donation & Surrogacy; Maia Boring Edwards; Naomi Cahn, University of Virginia School of Law; National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR); Dr. Robert Plomin; The Society for Ethics in Egg Donation and Surrogacy (SEEDS); Sonia Suter, The George Washington University Law School; The Sperm Bank of California; We Are Donor Conceived; We Are Egg Donors; and many donors, parents, and donor conceived people.