Identity: A (Human) Right to Ancestry and Genetic Origin (Keynote talk)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The absence of ‘ties meaningful’ (Ronen, 147) can easily curtail the realization of rights claims that are grounded ‘only’ in the need for authentic, genetic identity. Often, there is a need to evidence some form of ‘remembered relatedness,’ for example when seeking permission from jurists or government departments to access one’s original birth records or make some form of contact with estranged biological relatives. This paper will argue that a right to avoid origin deprivation—and access truths surrounding our genetic ancestry—can, in theory at least, be found or crafted from a number of relevant human rights provisions, not least those that have long served elsewhere to protect family life, familial contact, and child welfare paramountcy. The first half of the paper outlines how human rights frameworks might be used to underpin and argue the right to original identity (including persuasive Guidance in the form of UN Country Reports). The second half examines recent relevant jurisprudence on this area of law, looking particularly to the recent case law on gamete donation and surrogacy, much of
which seems to hold increasing relevance for closed-records adoptees seeking to connect with their genetic relatives, even though its messages are mixed in terms of promoting the rights of origin-deprived persons.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdoption Justice: Issues of Records and Identity: Adoption Truths Day International Conference
Place of PublicationSeoul, S Korea
PublisherKOROOT 1st Adoption Truth Day International Conference Preparatory Committee
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 09 Sept 2020
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Identity: A (Human) Right to Ancestry and Genetic Origin (Keynote talk)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this