by Danny S. Yoder on Jun 13, 2018 Uncategorized
This happened to Rachel Zients Schinderman, whose father died when she was four. As an adult she was adopted by her stepfather, which triggered the reissue of her birth certificate to replace her father's name with her stepfather's. This was an emotional experience for Schinderman. "No one could take my real father away from me, and someone else wanted to be there for me too," she tells me. Even so, the result strikes her as uncanny. "It is very strange to see [my stepfather's] name there and the age he would have been at the time of my birth." Schinderman understands why birth certificates get reissued upon adoption, but feels alienated by the bureaucratic requirement for such a change. "I just wish I had the option," she says.
The legal skirmishes over who should be able to see a birth certificate, and what information it should contain, seem likely to amplify rather than diminish. As technology improves and legal frameworks for parenting continue to evolve, new controversies are bound to play out over birth certificates new and old. Will sperm donors, egg donors, surrogates, and others be reflected? Will these documents allow for more than three people to be named as parents? Will increasingly sophisticated biometrics be embedded into them?