At LAT, "Jason Patric custody case inspires sperm-donor-rights legislation":
SACRAMENTO — A child-custody dispute involving actor Jason Patric has evolved from Hollywood tabloid fodder into a policy battle in the state Legislature that could affect thousands of California parents.Frankly, I'm not that sympathetic here. If you're going to "donate" your sperm to create a child the best recipient would be a wife, no?
Patric, a star of films including "The Lost Boys," donated sperm in 2009 as part of a fertility treatment that resulted in pregnancy for a former girlfriend, Danielle Schreiber.
The actor decided he wanted to help raise the child, Gus, who is now 3, but has been stymied in his attempts to gain partial custody in court. A bill unanimously passed by the state Senate, now pending in the Assembly, would change the law to make such efforts easier.
Under state law, someone who donates sperm through a doctor or sperm bank and who is not married to the woman who conceives is not recognized as the child's natural father. The only exception is if the couple agreed in writing before conception that the donor was to be considered a parent.
Patric had donated the sperm in a doctor-supervised procedure, but he and Schreiber had no such agreement, and the two are no longer together, according to Fred D. Heather, Schreiber's attorney. As a result, a judge denied Patric's claim.
A bill by state Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) would allow courts to grant parental rights to sperm donors under broader conditions — for example, if a donor showed that he openly acknowledged the child as his own and received the child into his home.
"In circumstances where you have a sperm donor creating a parenting relationship with a child, someone should not be allowed to take that away from the child," said Hill, who has written other parental-rights laws.
Hill said it is appropriate that the bill is being considered in California, which has more fertility clinics than any state. Parental roles are shifting with family dynamics and technological advances, he noted.