We advocate for changes in U.S. laws to promote access to information regarding your genetic identity. With the loss of anonymity there should be no surprises about who your genetic parents are. Mental health professionals advise people to tell their children at an early age about their unique conception (be it assisted conception, adoption, or a different genetic parent than the parent raising them) to prevent later trauma in your child’s life. Learning of misattributed parentage later in life can be very traumatic and often leaves a person with a sense of betrayal.
Facilitate Change in U.S. Law
We believe the US should join many countries in the world who have modernized their laws surrounding adoption and assisted conception to reflect changes in technology and societal opinions. The US should:
- Enact laws to guarantee our fundamental human right to know our genetic identity from birth
- Require Long Form Birth Certificates with the identity of all genetic and legal parents (and surrogates)
- Provide easy access to records for ALL adoptees and people conceived through assisted conception and prohibit anonymity in adoption or assisted conception.
- Regulate the fertility industry to set standards of care for handling of gametes including DNA testing of specimens, requiring recording keeping & reporting, limiting the number of live births for gamete providers, and having legal consequences to fraud in any aspect of the process.
Your Birth Certificate
The legal and societal purpose of a birth certificate are not the same. From a legal perspective we have birth certificates to know who is responsible, both financially and emotionally, for a child. From a social perspective, we birth certificates to track our ancestry, find out about our history, inform our descendant about who we are. Each state has different laws surrounding when and how you can change a birth certificate. Some states do not allow for changes after the child is age three and other states allow you to make changes administratively (not in court). We need federal legislation with a stick and a carrot to try and promote a more uniform approach to birth certificates.
We advocate for a “long-form” birth certificate with genetic parents and legal parents. A long-form birth certificate should have the names of genetic father and genetic mother (who have no legal obligations or rights surrounding the child) and supporting parent(s) who are legally responsible for the child as well as a space for a surrogate. People could print a short form version with just the supporting parents on it however for verification of birthday for sports, etc, but when a child turns 18 they would have access to the long form of their birth certificate. Including genetic parents gives you the right to know your genetic history. Your genetic and supporting parent(s) could be the same, your supporting parent(s) could be your adoptive parent(s), or could be a step-parent.
Let’s create a “Uniform Birth Certificate” law for states to enact with incentives from the federal government. For more on Uniform laws in the U.S., read this.