Adopted people to be given ‘absolute right’ to see original birth records

Adopted people will be given the right to see their original birth certificate and learn the identity of their birth parents, even where they object, under new legislation approved by Cabinet on Wednesday. The legislation contains no provisions for assuring the same rights to donor-conceived persons.

The Birth Information and Tracing Bill will grant priority to the adopted person who is seeking to learn their birth identity, over privacy objections of birth-mothers, by granting them for the first time the absolute right to see their original birth certificate and early-life records.

This may also give the adopted person details of their father’s identity, though this was not recorded in some cases.

The new legislation will also establish a national tracing service to facilitate people who wish to establish contact with their birth relatives.

It will also set up a contact preference register for people to record their preferences for contact.

This legislation seeks to bypass the legal difficulties of the constitutional rights of privacy of birth mothers by grounding the adopted person’s right to access documents in the right a person has to their own personal data.