“In 2009, the U.S. Surgeon General established a Family History Initiative, which recognized that familial medical history can be of vital important in the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions and illnesses that are genetically based. Similarly, The Centers for Disease Control, Office of Public Health Genomics (CDC OPHG), in 2002 established the Family History Public Health initiative ”to increase awareness of family history as an important risk factor for common chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, and to promote its use in programs aimed at reducing the burden of these diseases in the U.S. population.”
For The Records II: An Examination of the History and Impact Of Adult Adoptee Access to Original Birth Certificates, Policy & Practice Perspective, July 2010, Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute. p. 27
“Adoptees for restoring access stress the importance of OBCs to obtaining medical information. Without access to birth family names, adopted persons are barred from gaining fuller knowledge of their medical histories and genetic risks in order to make the best decisions about their own heath treatment and that of their children. They may have only outdated information provided at the time of adoption, so adoptees without access to their birth families may not know they should have early screenings for certain conditions manifested by their biological relatives at a later time. They also may need answers to medical questions that were not included on a checklist completed long ago, perhaps before family patterns of illness were known. “
For The Records II: An Examination of the History and Impact Of Adult Adoptee Access to Original Birth Certificates, Policy & Practice Perspective, July 2010, Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute. p. 19
Substitutes for Access Don’t Work
“Critics of mutual consent registries – also sometimes called “passive” registries – point out that they make few matches; reunion rates through them range from “a high of 4.4% to a median of 2.05%….
Another limitation of mutual consent registries is that they are state-specific, so they cannot facilitate matches across borders, and they require adopted persons to know that dates and places of their birth (the latter of which may have been changed on their amended birth certificates). For example, in North Carolina from 1949 until rewriting of the statute in 1995, the law specified that amended birth certificates for adoptees change their birth place to the residences of their adoptive parents and omit the names of the attending physicians and the local registrars (General Statues of North Carolina, Section 48-29 of Chapter 48 Adoption of Minors). Finally, matches are impossible if either the birth parent or the adoptive person does not register because he/she has died, though the other may still want to find identifying information for other relatives.”
For The Records II: An Examination of the History and Impact Of Adult Adoptee Access to Original Birth Certificates, Policy & Practice Perspective, July 2010, Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute. p. 32; citing Samuels, E.J. (2000-2001). The idea of adoption: An inquiry into the history of adult adoptee access to birth records. Rutgers Law Review., 53, 367-437.