The role of birth certificates in relation to access to biographical and genetic history in donor conception

Blyth, Eric, Frith, Lucy, Jones, Caroline and Speirs, Jennifer (2009) The role of birth certificates in relation to access to biographical and genetic history in donor conception. International Journal of Children's Rights, 17, (2), 207-233. (doi:10.1163/157181808X389254).


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In 1984, among its recommendations for the regulation of assisted conception services in the UK, the Warnock Committee proposed that the birth certificate of a donor-conceived person should record the fact of donor conception. While this proposal was never implemented, over twenty years later, a Joint Committee of the House of Lords and House of Commons recommended the use of birth certificates as a means of enabling donor-conceived persons to learn the nature of their conception. In response, the Government has committed to review the role of birth certificates. This paper represents an initial contribution to this exercise. It provides an overview of the legislative, policy and practice context of disclosure of donor conception, outlines arguments against and in favour of potential changes to birth certificates, and describes and critiques current propositions for revising birth certification. The paper concludes that there is a case for revising birth certificates and outlines a workable model to promote disclosure without compromising privacy concerns.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1163/157181808X389254
ISSNs: 0927-5568 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: donor-conception; birth certificates; identity; rights
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
K Law > KD England and Wales
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA1001 Forensic Medicine. Medical jurisprudence. Legal medicine
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Law
ePrint ID: 73627
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2010
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:06

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