A Senate Judiciary Committee in the US state of Utah has approved new legislation that will clarify which people are recognised as the legal parents of children born from assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs). Bill SB 45, also known as the Uniform Parentage Bill, was introduced because advances in reproductive technologies have made state legislators reconsider traditional definitions of 'mother', 'father' and 'child'. Gaps in state laws have apparently led to litigation from people who are performing the role of parent but who are not legally recognised as such.
The new legislation, which has yet to be passed by the full Senate, states that normally, a 'father' is the man who is married to the mother when a child is born. Additionally, if the child is born to a woman within 300 days of the date she has separated from her partner, through death or divorce, he will be regarded as the father and will be deemed legally and financially responsible for the child. The bill also contains separate definitions for donors and parents when IVF or donor insemination was used: donors will not be recognised as the parents of children born from their gametes. It also allows men to dispute paternity by taking a genetic test.
The bill also clarifies the legal position on surrogacy arrangements, referred to as 'gestational agreements', by saying that it will be the intended parents whose names will appear on the child's birth certificate. Decisions of courts in other states, including California and Massachusetts, have suggested that recognising intentional parenthood in surrogacy is becoming the trend in the US.