Crawshaw, M.A., Blyth, Eric and Feast, Julia (2017) Can the UK’s birth registration system better serve the interests of those born following collaborative assisted reproduction? Reproductive Biomedicine & Society Online, 4. pp. 1-4. ISSN 24056618

Current birth registration systems fail to serve adequately the interests of those born as a result of gamete and embryo donation and surrogacy. In the UK, changes to the birth registration system have been piecemeal, reactive and situation-specific and no information is recorded about gamete donors. Birth registration has thereby become a statement of legal parentage and citizenship only, without debate as to whether it should serve any wider functions. This sits uneasily with the increasingly accepted human right to know one’s genetic and gestational as well as legal parents, and the duty of the State to facilitate that right. This commentary sets out one possible model for reform to better ensure that those affected become aware of, and/or have access to, knowledge about their origins and that such information is stored and released effectively without compromising individual privacy. Among other features, our proposal links the birth registration system and the information stored in the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority’s Register of Information, although further work than we have been able to undertake here is necessary to ensure a better fit where cross-border treatment services or informal arrangements have been involved. The time for debate and reform is well overdue.

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