Assemblymember Chiu’s AB 960 Protects All Families Using Assisted Reproduction

(Sacramento, CA, July 8, 2015) – The Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday voted to pass legislation that updates California’s assisted reproduction laws to help ensure that all families are equally protected by law. Assembly Bill 960, authored by Assemblymember David Chiu (D – San Francisco) and co-sponsored by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Equality California (EQCA) and Our Family Coalition (OFC), ensures that all couples using assisted reproduction are fully recognized as parents as intended and removes other barriers to the types of assisted reproduction methods.

Specifically, AB 960 would recognize unmarried people using assisted reproduction as legal parents from the moment of their child’s birth just as married parents are recognized.  It would also remove the requirement from the Family Code that couples must involve a physician or sperm bank when using assisted reproduction in order to ensure that the donor is not a parent. AB 960 further provides clear direction for how egg donors should be treated under California law.

“This bill is about treating every intended parent, who has carefully weighed the life-changing decision to have children, as a parent from the moment of birth,” said Assemblymember Chiu. “Many couples, especially our LGBTQ couples, use assisted reproduction to start their families. It is time that California updates its assisted reproduction laws to ensure couples using assisted reproduction are not unjustly deterred from having their own families.”

Gaps in current assisted reproduction laws leave many families formed by assisted reproduction vulnerable. Today, unmarried couples using assisted reproduction are not recognized as the conceived child’s parents because this protection is limited to married couples. California law also only recognizes that sperm donors are not legal fathers only when a doctor or sperm bank is involved. However, many parents, including many same-sex parents, transgender parents, and intended single parents, use at-home insemination methods to conceive.

Many families simply cannot afford to conceive using a sperm bank or doctor, which can costs hundreds or thousands of dollars per month. Also, a sperm donor might end up being required to pay child support by the state, for example, if the parents conceived through at-home insemination.

“Currently, many families with children conceived through assisted reproduction are not recognized by California law,” said National Center for Lesbian Rights Family Law Director Cathy Sakimura. “AB 960 ensures that all children conceived through assisted reproduction have equal legal protections for their families.”

“This bill is about granting protection, recognition, and economic access to all prospective parents,” said Renata Moreira, Our Family Coalition’s Acting Executive Director. “AB 960 is going to particularly benefit lower income LGBTQ parents who will be able to use more affordable methods of assisted reproduction, and still be protected under California law.”

“All families deserve the same protections no matter how their children were conceived,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California. “This legislation removes unnecessary obstacles to that recognition.”

AB 960 is expected to be voted on by the full Senate in the next two weeks.