Physician Liability In California Uniform Parentage Act

The California Uniform Parentage Act (UPA) was designed to equalize the status of legitimate and illegitimate children, and is concerned with the legal paternity of children conceived by artificial insemination. (See De Haan, Whose Child Am I? a Look at How Consent Affects a Husband's Obligation to Support a Child Conceived Through Heterologous Artificial Insemination (1999) 37 Brandeis L.J. 809.) "As with the UPA, section 7613 does not address the physician's liability; furthermore, a review of the legislative history of this statute does not illuminate the Legislature's intent regarding the scope of the physician's tort liability." (Alexandria S. v. Pacific Fertility Medical Center, Inc., supra, 55 Cal. App. 4th 110, 119; see generally Annot., Rights and Obligations Resulting from Human Artificial Insemination (1991) 83 A.L.R.4th 295.) In the comment accompanying the text of the UPA, from which section 7613 was taken, it is noted that: "This Act does not deal with many complex and serious legal problems raised by the practice of artificial insemination." (9B West's U. Laws Ann. (1987) U. Parentage Act, com. to 5, p. 302.) The clear words of section 7613 limit its application to determination of the identity of a child's father, and do not address the liability of a doctor. The statute provides a method for obtaining consent before imposing the duties of a father on the husband of a married woman who undergoes artificial insemination. It also insulates a donor of semen from parental liability when the parties comply with its provisions. the statute does not apply if consent is not obtained for the procedure. (Jhordan C. v. Mary K. (1986) 179 Cal. App. 3d 386, 398 224 Cal. Rptr. 530 statute inapplicable where parties failed to invoke its protection.) The statute does not establish a requirement that a woman may not obtain artificial insemination without the consent of her husband. Because section 7613 was not designed to address a physician's liability, it does not create a tort duty on the part of the physician.