Birth Certificates and ART

There have been several long discussions here about what should and should not be on birth certificates.   This being the case, I’m slightly chagrined that I only just learned that the US government has a standard form certificate of live birth.   (I’ve linked to the 2003 revision, which I believe is the most current.) 

To be clear, this is not a form required by the government.  I think it is more like a model form.   I think slightly less that half the states follow this model.   (I don’t believe Washington is one of them.) 

What startled me is item #41.   Under “Risk Factors” the fifth set of boxes down asks whether the pregnancy resulted from infertility treatments–in other words whether ART was used.     

Now there is no question about whether third-party gametes were used.   That is what has concerned many who have commented here–that children might not know they were conceived using third-party gametes.   But it would alert a person that there were questions that should be asked.   

If this information is actually reflected on the paper a person would get if they requested a copy of their own birth certificate, it goes a good deal further towards giving notice than I thought was common.   Of course, not everyone will fill out the boxes properly.  And many people don’t look at their own birth certificates very frequently.   And I am not clear that this is the document given to individuals, rather than a form used by the hospital in reporting to central health authorities.  But even with all those caveats, I thought it was noteworthy.

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One response to “Birth Certificates and ART

  1. I’m not startled at all – of course the government has been trying to collect this information I remember filling out the form 6 years ago when my child was born. They are most definately looking at the man and woman named as mother and father as being genetically related to the child – they use all that data to come up with statistics that fund programs etc etc. “How many hispanic women with one ovary and a master’s degree gave birth with no pre-natal care” Anyway, there is no privacy for people who procreate, that is for sure. Not only are they invited into the bedroom but deep deep into family and educational history on both maternal and paternal sides.
    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/dvs/panelreport_acc.pdf

    I gave you a link that goes with that form that describes in great detail the purpose for collecting all that info.

    If I had just given birth and I were filling out that form, knowing that the child I gave birth to was not related to me – well for many of those questions I’d be outright lying. At the very least I’m painting an inaccurate picture for the child and for the government that uses that data to control the spread of disease and provide better prenatal care to underserved populations, etc. Really, an original unamended record of live birth is suppose to be a “pedigree” as you called it once. When a state talks about an amended certificate issued upon adoption, they refer to the mother and father on the original as the child’s biological parents. So, again even though it does not say biological or genetic, its not just naive assumption to assume it means genetic, that is the intent.

    So that brings me to the intent of persons wishing to get themselves named on that original certificate when they are not genetically related. Why are they doing that? What if there were no threat whatsoever to the intended person’s rights or responsibilities but it simply had to be crystal clear that the child’s (genetic)parents are anonymous. I worry about motivation – but then that really is irrelevant.

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