Rabu, 03 September 2014

Man conceived with donated sperm seeks birth certificate change to reflect *truth* (ABC)

Damian Adams finds it dehumanising and wrong that his birth certificate is inaccurate.ABC Damian Adams finds it "dehumanising and wrong" that his birth certificate is inaccurate.

An Adelaide man conceived using anonymous donor sperm has applied to have his birth certificate changed to record his father's name as unknown.

A expert on medical law says that if successful, his bid would lead to only the second instance in which a donor-conceived person managed to have their birth certificate changed.

Damian Adams was conceived in the 1970s from anonymous donor sperm, so has no legal right to any identifying information about his biological father or any half siblings.

However, he said the official record of his birth needed to reflect the truth and so he sought to have the reference to his so-called social father, the man who raised him, removed.

"I'm doing this because I want an accurate and factual record of my conception, of [my] birth," he said.

"I just want it to be what the birth certificate is supposed to be."

Birth certificates are what is known as "cardinal documents", the basic paperwork required to get other identity documents such as a passport.

Being named as a parent on a child's birth certificate does not automatically make a person the child's legal parent.

Mr Adams has filed his application with the Magistrates Court in Adelaide.

The Attorney-General's department in South Australia said the process for amending a birth certificate differed with each case.

From a biological point of view, Damian Adams thinks that what is on a birth certificate matters.

"It's not a certificate of ownership because we don't own children," he said.

"Some animals have a more accurate birth record than I do and I find that completely dehumanising and wrong."

Birth record accuracy matters for descendants

Mr Adams said an accurate record mattered not only for him.

"It's not just for my kids but also my descendents, in that if anybody in the future was to conduct genealogy research on our family I don't want them to go down the wrong path," he said.

"If they have an inaccurate birth record they will basically believe a lie."

Removing a parent's name from a birth certificate might seem a drastic step.

Mr Adams's social father died when he was 10, but he said he knew he would have been supportive.

"My parents strongly believed in telling the truth and they also raised me ... to stand up for what you believe in, so I believe I'm carrying on his legacy by standing up for the truth," he said.

"I still carry his name. I'm doing what I think he would think is the right thing to do."

Birth certificate change would be Australian first

According to medical law expert Dr Sonia Allan, receiving permission to change a birth certificate for this reason would be a first in Australia.

"There's been one successful country overseas, but Damian would be the first here," she said.

In the United Kingdom, 26-year-old donor-conceived woman Emma Cresswell removed her social father's name from her birth certificate last July after a six-year legal battle.

Dr Allan said donor-conceived people should have the right to an accurate birth certificate, in the same way as adopted people.

"They're able to access their original birth certificates in addition to the birth certificate that would show the people that have adopted them and they are effectively their social parents," she said.

"Donor-conceived people don't have that original birth certificate or a record of who their biological parents were.

"They are actually being treated quite differently to everybody else in Australia that has access one way or another to information about their genetic heritage."


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