New California law eases sperm donor testing rules

  • In this Dec. 6, 2012 photo, partners MeiBeck "Chino" Scott-Chung, left, and Maya Scott-Chung, right, play with their 8-year-old daughter Luna at their Oakland, Calif. home. The Scott-Chungs wanted to have a child and they wanted to use the sperm of a trusted male friend. Under federal law, the donor would have had to be tested within a week of every attempt to conceive, a process that could cost thousands of dollars. Scott-Chung unknowingly circumvented those rules and gave birth to a young daughter. But a new California law that takes effect Jan. 1 and was authored by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) intends to make that process easier for other LGBT families, single/low-income women and heterosexual couples who need help conceiving. (AP Photo/San Francisco Chronicle, Michael Macor) NORTHERN CALIFORNIA MANDATORY CREDIT PHOTOG & CHRONICLE; MAGS OUT; NO SALES

SACRAMENTO — California women who want to get pregnant using sperm from a donor they know should find the process easier and less expensive next year, thanks to a new state law scheduled to take effect on Jan 1.

Crafted with women who are single or in same-sex relationships in mind, the new law creates an exemption from federal rules requiring fertility clinics to use sperm that either has been quarantined and frozen for six months or provided by a man who is available to undergo repeated testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

The California regulations would allow women who already have tried artificial insemination with an acquaintance's sperm at home to waive the freezing or testing requirements in a clinic, just as women who are inseminated with sperm from their sexual partners now can.

The theory is that women in both circumstances are exposed to the same risks of infection, but that the current rules discriminate against women without intimate male partners, according to the text of the law.

Mitchell Rosen, director of the Fertility Preservation Center at the University of California, San Francisco, tells the San Francisco Chronicle (http://bit.ly/WMxkaI) the new law will put same-sex couples "on the same playing field" as heterosexual couples by giving them equal access to fertility services.

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