How Long do Fertility Clinics Need to Keep Records?
FULLERTON, Calif. (March 23, 2022) –Under California Health and Safety Code §1644.3 (CH&SC §1644.3), such a law allows for donor conceived individuals, who when they turn 18, to get identifying information on the donor from gamete banks. Although there is no clear law stating that fertility clinics must keep their records infinitely, California Health and Safety Code § 1644.3 makes it clear once the donor conceived person turns 18, they can go back to the gamete bank that collected the sperm or eggs and request the donor’s identifying information. If they decide to do this, then the law requires that the donor’s identifying information be provided unless the donor signed and did not withdraw a declaration refusing to share their identity. If the bank has a refusal on file, the gamete bank should then make a good faith effort to notify the donor and give them the opportunity to change their mind about releasing their identifying information, at the time of the request.
The law is new in this area—The effective date of California Health and Safety Code § 1644.3 is January 1, 2020, and it applies to gametes collected after that date. The first child to turn 18 from such gametes will be 2038. Thus, there is still a lot of development in this area of law. It is in everyone's best interests, for gamete banks and fertility clinics to keep records of donor identifying information indefinitely until there is a clear law on the required years of record maintenance.
Typically, Medical records must be kept by hospitals and providers for “a minimum of 7 years after the discharge of a patient,” or “at least one year after such a minor has reached the age of 18 years and, in any case, not less than seven years.” See Cal Code Regs. tit. 22 § 70751 (c). It is safe to assume that a fertility clinic or gamete bank should maintain the records of donor-identifying information indefinitely until there is more clarity on this specific area of law, so as not to infringe on the rights of donor-conceived individuals.
For more information please contact Thakur Law Firm. We have two offices in California: a Southern California office in Fullerton and a Northern California office in Pleasanton. For more information, visit www.thakurlawfirm.com.