Same-Sex Couples Will Have Equal Access to Fertility Services

By Sunnivie Brydum

Originally published on Advocate.com September 28 2012 5:04 PM ET

Today California governor Jerry Brown signed a bill ensuring that single people and same-sex couples will have the same access to fertility services as those provided to opposite-sex couples.

With the governor's signature on Assembly Bill 2356, California becomes the first state to take legislative steps to reconcile the inequality faced by single people and same-sex couples who are seeking fertility assistance. The law removes a barrier that required women seeking artificial insemination from someone who is not an "intimate partner" to have the sperm tested with each new insemination effort, even if the mother had already been exposed to the donor semen from previous insemination attempts. The policy was particularly hard-hitting for single women and same-sex couples, who can now define a "designated donor" who can provide a fresh donation for each insemination attempt, without having the sample frozen for repeated tests that can reduce the likelihood of successful conception.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights and Equality California lobbied in favor of the legislation, which was introduced by Assembly member Nancy Skinner of Berkeley.

"This law allows doctors and providers to provide services that are currently only available to different-sex couples to people using known donors," NCLR Family Protection Project director Cathy Sakimura said in a press release. "Many intended parents who would not otherwise be able to afford any fertility services will be able to access safe and more effective procedures under this new law. We applaud the governor and the legislature for recognizing that same-sex couples, transgender people, and single women should have equal access to fertility services."

The law will take effect January 1, according to NCLR.