SENATE, No. 2892

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MAY 19, 2011

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  LORETTA WEINBERG

District 37 (Bergen)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Expands “New Jersey Parentage Act” to include donation of egg or sperm; repeals artificial insemination provision.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning parentage, supplementing Title 9 of the Revised Statutes and repealing section 7 of P.L.1983, c.17.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    Donation of egg or sperm. a. If, under the supervision of a licensed physician and with the consent of both parties to a marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership, pregnancy is achieved using the semen, egg or both, donated by persons not parties to the marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership, the parties to the marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership shall be the parents of the resulting child irrespective of genetic parentage, provided that one of the parties to the marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership donates the semen or an egg, or the pregnancy is carried by either party in the marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership.

     b.    Unless the donor of the egg or semen and the parties to a marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership have entered into a written contract to the contrary, the donor shall not be treated in law as a parent of the resulting child and shall have no rights or duties stemming from the conception of a child.

     c.     The identity of an anonymous donor of the egg or semen shall be kept confidential and shall not be disclosed without the permission of the donor.

 

     2.    Section 7 of P.L.1983, c.17 (C.9:17-44) is repealed.

 

     3.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would repeal section 7 of P.L.1983, c.17 (C.9:17-44) of the “New Jersey Parentage Act” which provides that a husband is treated in the law as the parent of a child who is conceived by artificial insemination when his wife is artificially inseminated with semen donated by another man. The law is silent with regard to a child being conceived by egg donation.  This bill would expand the current law concerning sperm donors to include egg donors.

     This bill would replace the repealed section of the law with a new provision which provides that both parties to a marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership who choose to conceive a child by using a donated egg or a sperm would be presumed in the law to be the parents of that child. This new provision would take into account advances in reproductive technology and address the inconsistency in the current artificial insemination statute.

     Under the provisions of the bill, if, under the supervision of a licensed physician and with the consent of both parties to a marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership, pregnancy is achieved using the semen, an egg or both, donated by persons not parties to the marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership, the parties to the marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership shall be the parents of the resulting child irrespective of genetic parentage, provided that one of the parties to the marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership donates the semen or an egg, or the pregnancy is carried by either party in the marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership.

     The bill also provides that the donor would not be treated in law as a parent of the resulting child and would not have any rights or duties stemming from the conception of a child, unless the donor and the parties have entered into a written contract to the contrary.

     In addition, the bill provides that the identity of an anonymous donor of the egg or semen shall be kept confidential and shall not be disclosed without permission.

     This bill is introduced in response to the Appellate Division’s decision in In the Matter of the Parentage of a Child by T.J.S. and A.L.S., 2011 N.J. Super. Lexis 34, Docket No. A-4784-09T4 (App. Div. February 23, 2011).  The issue before the court in this case was whether the Parentage Act “recognizes an infertile wife as the legal mother of her husband’s biological child, born to a gestational carrier, and, if not, whether the statutory omission violates equal protection by treating women differently than similarly-situated infertile men, whose paternity is presumed when their wives give birth during marriage.” Id. at 1. The court upheld the constitutionality of the Parentage Act in response to this challenge on equal protection grounds. Id. at 31.  In its opinion, the court noted that the Legislature has failed to address the legal issues raised by reproductive procedures other than artificial insemination. The court stated that “it is the Legislature’s prerogative to define the terms and manner of [the] creation of [the parent-child relationship]” and it is the court’s role to ensure the means selected “do not violate constitutional principles.”  Id. at 27-31.

     It is the sponsor’s intent to address the concerns raised in this case by ensuring consistency in the law for infertile mothers and fathers.

     This bill is modeled after section 12 (“Donation of egg or sperm”) of the New Jersey Law Revision Commission’s “Final Report Relating to Title 9-Parentage,” April 2010.