Thursday, August 13, 2009

Birth Certificates

There is a lot of debate in fertility “circles” about birth certificates and many court cases whereby one or both of commissioning parents seek to have their names put on a birth certificate where otherwise it would have another persons name on it under law.
Rather than address the legal status of each person in relation to the child and their place or lack thereof on a birth certificate I wish to analyse what a birth certificate actually is and what should occur as a result.
A birth certificate is supposed to be a truthful and legal document which describes the progenitors of a child. It is a pedigree that traces our genealogy. It is our heritage. Historically the progenitors of a child were always the raising parents which were traditionally married or in a de-facto relationship. So the people that raised you were also your biological father/mother and appeared on your birth certificate as such. The problem now is that because your biological parents may not be the ones that raise you due to some fertility treatment procedure, the birth certificates can become a fraudulent document when a non-progenitor is placed on it instead.
Just as we use pedigree papers to trace the biological lineage of animals such as dogs, cats, horses etc, we can and do use birth certificates for the same purpose in humans. Historians and genealogists use them to trace a person’s heritage and history. If we replace a progenitor on a birth certificate with a social parent then we create false history and the truth becomes clouded by lies. We are rewriting history with erroneous claims.
It would appear as though the non-biological parent who seeks inclusion on the birth certificate or replacement of the biological parent does so out of fear that the child will then not recognise them as their dad/mum. There is no evidence to suggest that this is the case. There is too much emotion placed on a birth certificate when none should be placed on it at all. It is purely a document describing the genetic history of each person, it has absolutely nothing to do with who raises or loves you. They can be two entirely separate things and should be kept separate when it comes to creating a birth certificate.
Those who are a party to a fertility treatment and subsequent rearing of child but are not the progenitors can still be recognised as the legal parent of the child without having to be on the birth certificate. It is time we recognised the truth and recorded the facts on birth certificates rather than play deceitful games with fraudulent documents. It is up to each country/state to decide if they also wish to include the social/non-biological parent AS WELL on the birth certificate, or to create additional documentation detailing the legal parenthood of each child. What they should not be doing is usurping the truth.
My birth certificate is a lie and not worth the piece of paper it is written on, is yours?

7 Responses to "Birth Certificates"

whosedaughter (visit their site)

While Damian is from Australia and I am from the United States, legalities (laws of the land) aside, I believe the purpose of "birth certificates" is really a global human dignity/social issue that we all share regardless of our country of origin.

Of course each country handles this differently. I heard that in the UK there are both long (noting legal parents names, name of child/individual, gender, date/place of birth and registration) and a short BC (only noting name, gender, date/place of birth and registration). And in Canada, birth certificates only show details of an individual's birth without any parenting details.

I certainly don't claim to be very knowledgeable on this topic but this is what I'd like to see happen (here in the US – and everywhere):

I think there should be both a long birth certificate noting both a person's genetic/biological origins (there by respecting an individuals right to genetic/biological identity) and parenting details AND a separate short "parenting certificate" stating only the legal parents, which would be used for every day and legal purposes.

Anonymous (visit their site)

I don't know if you have come across the blog, a broadside critique with the link given below, but hope that it gives you and your campaigning a boost >

http://beware-of-the-fertility-industry.blogspot.com

You may want autonomy on your own blog, in which case leaving this on your link is up to you :)

In any event, the last word in any debate belongs to the donor-conceived as they will outlive the adults involved and it's not the nicest legacy to be left feeling as they do.

CLB (visit their site)

In any common law country (& many others) birth certificates have NEVER been a genetic record. This is because men attained legal parentage through marriage to the mother, & in many cases could not be listed on a Bcert unless they were married, until more recently. And often the husband is not the genetic father but he is listed anyway - that has been true and was demanded by the law in the past even when everyone knew who the genetic father was.

Canadian courts & tribunals have ruled that birth certificates have nothing to do with biology, and we now have Bcerts with a male parent only, with 3 parents etc.

In Canada we have long form Bcerts with parental info & short form ones that have no parental info. As an adoptee, I don't care whether that info is on my Bcert but I can see, given society's genetic bias, why some people prefer to keep their legal parents only on a Bcert, if they are in a country that doesn't have short forms. You need to show it as ID in so many situations! (at least in Canada)

Anonymous (visit their site)

Sue the fertility industry. I mean that.

Anonymous (visit their site)

The UK allows overseas IVF so there is only a chance for some to trace and find.

halforphan56 (visit their site)

I agree with Annonymous: sue the fertility industry.

Donating gametes should be banned worldwide to make the world safe for children. Children grow up and are hurt by the actions of thier parents.

I never agreed with the hisband named on a birth certificate evenif he is not the biological child. that should be illegal. I know that law was created to protect the wife/mother if she strays and concieves via an affair. That is not the child's fault and that child so created has every right to know who his father is, the genetic father.

Being told that the father you thought was your father is not your father is a real shock.

Sankar Kumar (visit their site)

If a couple is pro-life, that's fine, but if they think that being pro-life is simply a question of maximizing the number of pregnancies in the world at whatever cost and in whatever way we can imagine, then they're not grappling with the issues seriously at all and should be told as much. Here i suggest couples to go INDIA for IVF surrogacy, then you must search for Surrogacy India, Surrogate mother India, IVF India, IVF clinic India & IVF cost india. I found Go Surrogacy for this treatment in India. Hope you also like these.