California Debates Enhancing Parental Rights For Sperm Donors

SACRAMENTO (KCBS)—The rights of California sperm donors were put into law 20 years ago. Now a Bay Area state legislator is involved in revising those rules with a new bill to be presented in Sacramento on Tuesday.

The court battle between actor Jason Patric and his ex-girlfriend, Danielle Schreiber has gone to the state legislature. Together they conceived a child using in-vitro fertilization, but when the relationship ended, Schreiber cut off Patric’s access to the boy. A judge later ruled that he was no more than a sperm donor — with no parental rights under state law.

State Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, who authored that law, said he is attempting to revise it and give the court the discretion to look at the facts in each case.

“If someone can prove to a judge that they co-parented and raised a child, provide for them and lived with them, then the court should be able to take that into consideration as they determine what’s in the best interest of the child,” he said.

Hill said the original laws were put into place when it was primarily infertile married couples that were using donors.

Under Hill’s proposed SB-115, a sperm donor who “receives the child into his home and openly holds the child out as his natural child” could be declared a legal parent.

Opponents, including adoption lawyers and Planned Parenthood, argue that changes could affect the rights of same sex couples or single mothers. They claim that the standards for the involvement in the child’s life are too broad.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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