Fertility fraud

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard Sen. Sandlin’s SB 174 on fertility fraud. This introduced bill provides that a physician who treats a patient of that physician for infertility by using the physician’s own spermatozoon or ovum, without the patient’s consent or by using donated human reproductive material without the consent of the donor commits fertility fraud, a Level 6 felony. It also provides that a prosecution for criminal fertility fraud that would otherwise be barred by the statute of limitations may be brought not later than five years after the earliest of the date on which the state first discovers evidence sufficient to charge the offender with the offense through DNA analysis, the state first becomes aware of the existence of a recording that provides evidence sufficient to charge the offender with the offense, or a person confesses to the offense. The bill was amended with a vote of 7-3 to remove the criminal portion.

This bill also establishes a cause of action for civil fertility fraud and provides that a prevailing plaintiff may be awarded actual damages or liquidated damages of $10,000. It also specifies that the statute of limitations for civil fertility fraud is 10 years from the eighteenth birthday of the child, or not later than five years after the earliest of the date on which the person first discovers evidence sufficient to bring an action against the defendant through DNA analysis, the person first becomes aware of the existence of a recording that provides evidence sufficient to bring an action against the defendant, or the defendant confesses to the offense.

This bill is in response to Dr. Donald Cline, a fertility doctor who impregnated women with his sperm without their knowledge. A professor from Indiana University Maurer School of Law testified that this is not currently covered by criminal law. A biological child of Donald Cline and a mother who was unknowingly impregnated by Cline testified in favor of this bill. Representatives of the Attorney General’s Office and Indiana Trial Lawyers Association testified in favor of the bill.

The amended bill passed 10-0.

Read the bill at: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2019/bills/senate/174