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Will it be illegal for fertility doctors to secretly inseminate patients in Washington state?

Fertility Fraud Illustration
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Illustration by Diana Opong/KUOW

Washington could become the 10th state in the country to make it illegal for doctors to use their own genetic material to inseminate patients without their consent.

The practice, known as fertility fraud, usually happens when a male doctor uses his own semen to fertilize an egg.

For the past two years, Rep. Tina Orwall (D-Des Moines) has been trying to pass legislation to make fertility fraud illegal in the state of Washington.

RELATED: 'Such a violation': Patients of former UW doctor accused of fertility fraud grapple with uncertainty, tough choices

During a Law and Justice Committee meeting last week in Olympia, Orwall said the legislation was long overdue.

“The reason for the bill is [to] be able to take action… to try to find a pathway for justice for the people that are impacted,” Orwall said. “We don't want to see [fertility fraud] in the state.”

If it passes, the measure, House Bill 1300, would make fertility fraud a form of criminal assault. The bill has bipartisan support.

RELATED: Washington lawmakers are considering criminalizing fertility fraud — but what exactly is that?

“When you go into a doctor's office, you assume you're safe,” Orwall said. “I had a constituent approach me several years ago whose family was deeply harmed when her parents went to a fertility doctor, and … without their knowledge, [used] his own reproductive materials. And I think there really should be no circumstance where that happens.”

At the time of publication, the fertility fraud bill had been sent to the Rules Committee, meaning it could be up for a vote before the legislative session ends on March 7.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was amended on Feb. 22 to correct the hometown of Rep. Orwall and to change the end date of the current legislative session to March 7.

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