LGBTQ Advocates Praise Colorado Advances in Legal Protections for Families Formed Via Assisted Reproduction
As Governor Polis is set to sign the “Donor-conceived Persons and Families of Donor-conceived Persons Protection Act,” advocates commended the state’s thoughtful approach to providing people conceived via assisted reproduction access to important donor information and praised the signing last week of legislation advancing legal parentage protections for Colorado families formed via assisted reproduction
May 31, 2022, DENVER, Colo. — Today Governor Jared Polis is expected to sign SB22-224, the “Donor-conceived Persons and Families of Donor-conceived Persons Protection Act,” legislation that takes a balanced approach to allowing people conceived via assisted reproduction access to limited important donor information. This follows the governor’s signing last week of “Marlo’s Law,” HB 22-1153, which enables LGBTQ parents who create families through assisted reproduction to more equitably establish their parentage, providing greater legal security for Colorado children.
The LGBTQ advocacy organizations COLAGE, Family Equality, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) submitted testimony in support of two key provisions in SB22-224:
- a provision consistent with the Uniform Parentage Act of 2017 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
- allowing donor-conceived persons over age 18 access to identifying information of their gamete donor beginning in 2025.
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. COLAGE, Family Equality, GLAD and NCLR commended SB22-224’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.
The organizations also stressed the importance that legislation like SB22-224 be adopted in conjunction with parentage legislation that provides legal security and recognition for families formed through assisted reproduction and praised Governor Polis for signing HB 22-115 last week. “Marlo’s Law” streamlines the process for confirmatory adoptions, ensures that Colorado’s parentage laws are gender neutral and explicitly inclusive of LGBTQ families, makes parentage presumptions gender-inclusive, expands access to establishing parentage through a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Parentage to intended parents through assisted reproduction, and makes Colorado’s assisted reproduction provisions gender and marital status neutral so that if you consent to assisted reproduction you are a parent to the resulting child.
The organizations issued the following statements:
Jordan Budd, Executive Director, COLAGE:
“We’re thankful that Governor Polis and Colorado lawmakers are thinking broadly about the importance of protecting families by enacting both H.B. 22-1153 and SB22-224 this session. Together these new laws will provide increased legal security and access to important donor medical information for families formed through assisted reproduction. As an organization dedicated to supporting people with LGBTQ parents, we know that children come into families in many different ways. We are pleased to see Colorado make such big strides in providing protections for LGBTQ families and for all children and families in the state.”
Shelbi Day, Chief Policy Officer, Family Equality:
“Children and adults who were conceived through gamete donation and their families are a multi-faceted community and we were pleased to see so many different stakeholders brought to the table in the development of SB22-224. Among the LGBTQ+ parents and intended parents in the Family Equality community there is a commitment to openness and honesty with their children about the circumstances of their birth through assisted reproduction. We support the structure that SB22-224 will provide for open and honest communication about family origins, and applaud Governor Polis for signing it this session alongside legislation that ensures Colorado’s parentage laws include LGBTQ+ people who form their family using assisted reproduction.”
Patience Crozier, Senior Staff Attorney, GLAD:
“We commend Governor Polis and the legislature for ensuring that all parent-child relationships and families are protected under Colorado law and for encouraging openness for donor-conceived people. H.B. 22-1153, signed into law last week, ensures that the children of LGBTQ parents are fully protected under state parentage law – protections that are crucial to children’s security and well-being. Legislation regarding family building raises many important issues and involves numerous stakeholders, including children and their parents. We applaud the thoughtful approach taken in Colorado to encourage openness for donor-conceived people while at the same time guarding against discrimination or increased barriers in family building and, importantly, ensuring legal security and recognition for families formed through assisted reproduction.”
Cathy Sakimura, Deputy Director & Family Law Director, NCLR:
“We applaud Governor Polis for signing SB22-224 together with HB 22-1153 this session to ensure both that donor-conceived persons have access to important information and that parent-child relationships in LGBTQ families are protected under the law. 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 HB22-1153 to expand protections for families formed through assisted reproduction.”