Thanks to DNA tests and the internet but mainly to the mobilization of IVF people to defend their right to know the identity of their biological parents, many persons could find their biological parents despite the fact that the law that protects the anonymity of gamete donor is still in force in many countries.

A recent large study titled AN IMMODEST PROPOSAL FOR BIRTH REGISTRATION IN DONOR-ASSISTED REPRODUCTION, IN THE INTEREST OF SCIENCE AND HUMAN RIGHTS was published in the journal New Mexico Law Review (48 N.M. L. Rev. 416 – Summer 2018) affirms “There is an emerging trend worldwide toward recognizing adult donor offspring’s desire for and a right to access identifying information about the donors whose genes are, undeniably, a significant factor in the offspring’s development. Although debate continues about the significance of nature and nurture, and about justifications for and objections to access, access to identifying information in government records is increasingly being viewed as a basic right of adult donor offspring as well as adult adoptees. Among donor offspring, there has developed an international movement seeking access to information about their genetic origins as well as access to information about those with whom they share a gamete donor.”

Certificate of live birth is failing to fully fulfill its traditional function of advancing medical and social science and public health. It excludes donor-conceived people

Explaining the state of the art in the United States the study affirms “Although securing intended parents’ names on the certificate achieves those desirable aims, it is part of a system that represents a serious loss both to the children and society. Whether or not the intended parents’ names appear on the certificates, the certificates fail to provide the children with a full account of their biological origins and their legal and social status. All of the information that states include on an individual’s birth certificate is taken from a lengthier “certificate of live birth,” which is filled out by birth attendants. As currently designed, the“certificate of live birth” is failing to fully fulfill its traditional function of advancing medical and social science and public health. The “certificate of live birth” includes specific social and medical information about the parents, the pregnancy, the birth, and the baby. The information is forwarded to the National Center for Health Statistics where it is compiled and used for conducting research by qualified researchers. Such vital statistics are, as a founder of epidemiology noted in the nineteenth century, “the language in which public-health questions [can] be asked and answered—and, crucially, changed.”

Available true biological origins information also affects public health

The study continues, “As a public health school dean said recently, it is with the vital statistics found in birth records that “you can do something that can shift the whole health of a population and measure whether or not it’s working.” But on the “certificates of live birth,” for births that have involved donated gametes, who are the mothers and fathers about whom information is reported? The genetic mother or mothers? The social mother? The gestational mother? The genetic father? The social father? The gestational mother’s husband? As a physician said of birth records today, “they may increasingly be works of
fiction.” This study makes an immodest proposal to rethink the way we document biological parentage, genetic and gestational, on the one hand, and social and legal parentage on the other. The proposal is consistent with and would promote a society
that, first, respects and supports families, however, formed or re-formed over time, so that all families can to the greatest extent possible enhance the lives of their adult.”

In this sense, many countries are making legal initiatives. For example, a committee was constituted by United Kindom’s Parliament to include biological parents marked on birth certificates. “If parents want to deceive their children that’s their decision, but it is our view that the state should not be complicit in that,” said Phil Willis, chair of the committee. 

It is a crucial bioethical issue that presents the increasing new techniques of assisted reproduction which, in many cases, let the children without available data of their biological parents.

Read our article In vitro fertilization legal tangle

See a recent web and Facebook group created for donor-conceived people.