California Bill Seeks Parental Rights for Sperm Donors

Actor Jason Patric's custody battle with his ex-girlfriend is behind the bill

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    A bill before the California Legislature would allow some sperm donors to petition for paternal rights. A hearing before an Assembly committee is set for Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013.

    California lawmakers will be presented with a controversial bill Tuesday that seeks to give certain sperm donors legal standing to argue for parental rights.

    The measure going before the Assembly Judiciary Committee, SB 115, would allow a donor who has acted as a father and cared for a child to claim legal rights and assume the responsibilities associated with being the child's father.

    Under current California law, a sperm donor is not regarded as the father of the child he helped conceive through artificial insemination. That is designed to protect both donors and the women who don't want a donor involved in the child's life.

    Two years ago, a state law was passed allowing a donor to make a written agreement with the child's mother, which would allow the donor to play a role in the child's life. But that still allowed for a woman to first agree and then change her mind.

    The new bill, authored by Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), seeks to clarify the 2011 statute so unmarried donors can file paternity claims, with the burden of proving to the court that they have acted as a father to the child.

    Actor Jason Patric will testify before the committee Tuesday to support the legislation, NBC News reported.

    The “Lost Boys” actor is involved in a heated custody battle with former girlfriend Danielle Schreiber with whom he has a 3-year-old son, Gus, who was conceived using in vitro fertilization.

    Patric took his case to state lawmakers after a judge ruled that he was to be classified strictly as a sperm donor and that he had no paternal rights over Gus.

    The bill was approved by the California Senate on April 25.