Bipartisan bill cracks down on fertility fraud

DES MOINES — Working in a bipartisan manner, State Senator Sarah Trone Garriott today supported legislation to crack down on reproductive fraud against Iowa families.

Trone Garriott of Windsor Heights, a Democrat, worked with Senator Annette Sweeney of Alden, a Republican, to pass Senate File 529, which is known as the “Fraud in Assisted Reproduction Act.”

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The legislation addresses cases where those seeking fertility assistance are instead victims of fraud, specifically cases where the physician misrepresents the sperm donor’s identity. Through popular DNA testing, individuals in states across the nation have been shocked and horrified to discover that the physician is actually their father. Existing law provided the children born of reproductive fraud with no opportunity to seek criminal or civil action after their discovery. Iowans who have been affected shared their stories at the subcommittee meeting.

Senator Sweeney, the bill’s floor manager, credited Trone Garriott for working to clarify the legislation to better connect with existing Iowa Code. The legislation classifies this offense as sex abuse in the third degree, which is a level included on the sex offender registry.

The legislation was approved by the Senate on a 47-0 vote. Key provisions of the bill:

  • Prohibit a person from providing false information to a patient related to assisted reproduction treatment.
  • Prohibit a physician from using human reproductive material for assisted reproduction other than that agreed to in writing by the patient.

A person who is found guilty of violating the Fraud in Assisted Reproduction Act would be guilty of a Class “C” felony.

In addition, the legislation ensures that any health care provider or facility may have its license revoked for violating the law; a patient or family member could sue anyone who violates the law for compensatory and punitive damages; and any physicians who use their own human reproductive material in the assisted reproduction procedure would be guilty of sexual abuse in the third degree when the physician uses their own human reproductive material in the assisted reproduction procedure.

The legislation now moves to the Iowa House.

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