As the idea and picture of what constitutes a "family" changes over time, it is no surprise that the law relating to the familial structure should change or at least accommodate the modern viewpoints. One such law that may need reconsidering is the Uniform Parentage Act. The legislation relates to children of unmarried parents and one provision in particular focuses on sperm donation through a licensed physician. The law bars sperm donors from claiming parental rights to any child born from said donation.
California recognizes that the original purpose of the federal law was give infertile women, both married and unmarried, the opportunity to have children through artificial insemination without worrying about the sperm donor someday fighting for fathers' rights. But as both time and medical technology have changed, California recently introduced a bill that clarifies when a sperm donor can and cannot argue for parental rights.
SB 115 would allow a certain class of fathers to children born through sperm donation to seek parentage rights. The bill focuses on the group of fathers that actually brought the child into their home in order to raise the child. The purpose of the bill is to allow fathers in certain situations to maintain a relationship with their child.
Unmarried parents are more common in this day and age, for both the gay and straight populations. When these couples choose to have children together, artificial insemination may be used for any number of reasons. In these situations, sperm donation takes on a new meaning because the intention is to co-parent. SB 115 protects the rights of the father, even in the event that the couple's relationship breaks down.
The bill specifically targets parents who've had a relationship with the child and does not allow all sperm donors to seek out custodial rights or parentage rights. Another factor is that the relationship with the child must have been created with the consent of the child's mother.
Reproductive technology and families are changing but the right to parent is still held in high regard. If passed, the California bill could improve the rights of fathers that form a relationship with their child.
Source: The Huffington Post, "Senate Bill 115 is Necessary to Protect Children and Fathers," Fred Silberberg, April 12, 2013