New Law Eases Rules On Sperm Donation

Same-sex couples now allowed to conceive at home without lab tests

A turkey baster at home, or a laboratory-overseen, frozen and quarantined artificial insemination process?

For an Oakland couple, it was the former option. Maya and Mei-Beck Scott-Chung and their sperm donor, friend Daniel Bao, used sperm donated in an artichoke jar and a syringe to become pregnant in 1998. It  was illegal, but it was much easier and cheaper than the legal route, which, despite a willing donor in Bao, would have been financially impossible.

A new law authored by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner of Berkeley will make it easier now for California couples to conceive with a donor, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The new law will ease restrictions set up by the US Food and Drug Administration. The FDA's rules say that only a would-be donor can give sperm to someone who is their "intimate sexual partner." That leaves same-sex couples out in the cold, and requires their donors to freeze and quarantine sperm while it is tested, in order to avoid sexually-transmitted diseases.

Some couples have sued the FDA, alleging that the rules are so burdensome that they help prevent people from becoming pregnant.

The California law expands the definition of whose sperm can be used to conceive at home, the newspaper reported.

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