May 11, 2022
Legislation providing important access to donor information must necessarily recognize that many people build loving families through assisted reproduction and should be enacted alongside legislation ensuring legal parentage protections for those children and familiesMay 11, 2022, DENVER, Colo. — On Tuesday, the Colorado Legislature passed SB22-224, the “Donor-conceived Persons and Families of Donor-conceived Persons Protection Act,” by a unanimous vote in the Senate and 53-12 in the House. The LGBTQ advocacy organizations COLAGE, Family Equality, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) submitted testimony during a Senate committee hearing held April 26 and a House committee hearing held May 5 in support of two key provisions in the bill: 1) giving individuals of any age who were born through assisted reproduction using unknown donor gametes (“donor-conceived persons”) access to non-identifying medical information of their gamete donor and 2) allowing donor-conceived persons over age 18 access to identifying information of their gamete donor. Legislation regarding family building necessarily raises many important interests and issues and involves numerous stakeholders, including children and their parents. LGBTQ people build loving families in many different ways, and a significant number rely on assisted reproduction and egg, sperm, and embryo donation. LGBTQ parents, like so many parents, plan thoughtfully to build their families and can experience barriers and discrimination in family building and securing their children legally. SB22-224 is an important step as Colorado continues working to ensure that donor-conceived persons have access to important information and that parent-child relationships in LGBTQ families are protected under the law. The organizations commended the bill’s thoughtful approach to allowing access to important donor information while maintaining safeguards to ensure that assisted reproduction, including gamete donation, remains accessible, affordable, and provided in a nondiscriminatory and inclusive way. Parentage law experts Courtney Joslin, Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of Law at the University of California-Davis School of Law; and Douglas NeJaime, Anne Ursowky Professor of Law at Yale Law School, also submitted testimony in support of SB22-224. Joslin and NeJaime’s testimony stressed the importance that legislation like SB22-224 be adopted in conjunction with parentage legislation such as H.B. 22-1153, passed earlier this session, that provides legal security and recognition for families formed through assisted reproduction. SB22-224 now heads to the desk of Gov. Jared Polis. The organizations issued the following statements regarding the passage of SB22-224: Jordan Budd, Executive Director, COLAGE: “As an organization dedicated to supporting people with LGBTQ parents, we know that children come into families in many different ways. Many LGBTQ parents build families through assisted reproduction, including gamete donation, and those children and families need and deserve legal protections. SB22-224 recognizes the importance of ensuring families can access non-identifying donor medical information which can help inform critical health care decisions, while also providing the option for adult donor-conceived individuals who wish to obtain identifying information about a gamete donor to do so if they choose. We’re thankful that lawmakers in Colorado are thinking broadly about the importance of protecting families and advancing SB22-224 along with H.B. 22-1153 which will provide increased legal security for families formed through assisted reproduction.” Shelbi Day, Chief Policy Officer, Family Equality: “Children and adults who were conceived through gamete donation and their families are a diverse and multi-faceted community. As a national organization that represents LGBTQ+ families and those who wish to form them, we know that for LGBTQ parents within this community, there is a commitment to openness and honesty with their children about the circumstances of their birth through assisted reproduction and donor gametes. We support the structure that SB22-224 creates for open and honest communication about family origins, and applaud the Colorado legislature for passing H.B. 22-1153 to update Colorado’s parentage law to include LGBTQ+ people who form their family using assisted reproduction.” Patience Crozier, Senior Staff Attorney, GLAD: “We’re pleased to see the Legislature working to ensure all parent-child relationships and families are protected under Colorado law and to encourage openness for donor-conceived people. Earlier this session the Legislature advanced a separate bill, H.B. 22-1153, to update Colorado parentage law to be inclusive of LGBTQ parents and to ensure legal security for families formed through assisted reproduction. The provisions in SB22-224 for donor-conceived persons and their families to access non-identifying medical information about their gamete donor are consistent with the model Uniform Parentage Act of 2017, which GLAD has long supported, and the provision providing for identity release at age 18 represents an important step for many donor-conceived people and their families. We hope Governor Polis will quickly sign both bills.” Cathy Sakimura, Deputy Director & Family Law Director, NCLR: “Many LGBTQ families are formed using donated sperm or eggs from unknown donors. Information about the medical histories of those donors and, once a child is an adult, the identity of donors, should be accessible to families who wish to know, while also safeguarding the privacy of families and protecting the recognition of families in every way they are formed. Laws addressing the release of information about sperm and egg donors must be passed alongside laws that respect families who are formed using assisted reproduction. We applaud Colorado for considering all of these important issues and passing SB22-224 along with another bill, HB22-1153, which expands protections for families formed through assisted reproduction.” Learn more about COLAGE, Family Equality, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Learn more about the Uniform Parentage Act and family equality efforts throughout New England.