Colorado Enacts First U.S. Law Abolishing Anonymous Gamete Donation

DENVER, May 31 – Governor Jared Polis signed into law new legislation that will abolish anonymous third-party gamete donation and provide groundbreaking protections for donor conceived people.

The “Donor-Conceived Persons and Families of Donor-Conceived Persons Protection Act” will take effect for donations made on or after January 1, 2025, with no retroactive application to prior donations. 

The landmark legislation grants people conceived via egg or sperm donation the right to learn the name of their genetic parent at age 18 and establishes a worldwide limit of 25 families that may be created from one gamete donor, with no limit on the number of children per family. 

These regulatory measures have broad support amongst donor conceived people and are similar to existing requirements in countries such as the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Germany. In the United States, third-party gamete donation is almost entirely unregulated.

The Act was introduced by State Senate President Stephen Fenberg (D – Boulder) and co-lead sponsored by Sen. Bob Gardner (R – El Paso), Rep. Kerry Tipper (D – Jefferson), and Rep. Matt Soper (R – Delta, Mesa). The bill gained many additional sponsors as it progressed through the legislative process, passing unanimously in the Colorado Senate and with overwhelming bipartisan support in the Colorado House of Representatives.

“Anonymity is a promise that can no longer be made due to the popularity of at-home DNA testing,” Fenberg said. “This law 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.”

U.S. Donor Conceived Council (USDCC), the first nonprofit in the United States formed and led by donor conceived people, spearheaded enactment of the law, working closely with Senator Fenberg since January 2022 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 final version of the bill was developed after months of input from USDCC, national LGBTQ+ advocacy groups, mental health professionals, industry representatives, a donor advocacy group, attorneys who practice in the area of assisted reproductive technology, legal scholars, and others. 

“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 enactment of this law, the industry can no longer ignore our voices.”

Other notable provisions of the law require gamete agencies, banks, and fertility clinics to obtain a Colorado license and:

  • 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;
  • Request periodic updates from donors on their medical history and contact information;
  • Ensure donors are at least 21 years of age; and
  • Permanently retain records on sperm and egg donors.

The law phases in these requirements from 2022 to 2025 to give gamete agencies, banks, and fertility clinics time to adjust their practices. For more information and a list of bill supporters, please visit the USDCC website.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tiffany Gardner — [email protected]

About U.S. Donor Conceived Council: U.S. Donor Conceived Council, Inc. (USDCC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 2022 by a team of donor conceived people (DCP) who serve on a volunteer basis. USDCC aims to educate others on the lived experiences of DCP; advocate for reforms to the fertility industry that further our best interests; and assist in developing and passing legislation that protects the rights of donor conceived people. For more information, please visit usdcc.org.

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