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Open Adoption Records - Access to Original Birth Certificate

Adoptees may now receive a noncertified copy of the certificate of birth prior to adoption

HF855 was signed into law on May 19, 2021. This new legislation allows an adult adoptee born before January 1, 1971 to apply for a noncertified copy of the original certificate of birth prior to adoption immediately. If the adult adoptee is deceased, an entitled family may apply for the record.

Beginning January 1, 2022, any adult adoptee 18 years old or older may apply for a noncertified copy of the original certificate of birth prior to adoption. If the adult adoptee is deceased, an entitled family may apply for the record.

  • Proper application, proof of identity and entitlement must exist before a noncertified copy of the original certificate of birth may be issued to any party.
  • Contact preference forms and medical history forms may be on file for the biological parent(s) named on the record. If the contact preference forms and medical history forms are on file, the forms will be released with the noncertified original certificate of birth.
  • Biological parents may state their preference to release their identity and option for contact, or for their identity to be redacted from the original certificate of birth prior to adoption.
  • An original noncertified certificate of birth prior to adoption may be released regardless of any contact preference forms being filed when proper application has been made and proof of entitlement exists.
  • Any adult adoptee, or an entitled person, who was born before January 1, 1971 may apply for and obtain a noncertified copy of the original certificate of birth of the adopted person who is the subject of the original certificate of birth at any time.
  • All other requests for a noncertified copy of the original certificate of birth by the adult adoptee, or an entitled person, may be submitted on or after January 1, 2022.

 

AS OF MAY 19, 2021, EXPECTED PROCESSING TIME TO COMPLETE COPY REQUESTS SUBMITTED IS 6 WEEKS

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What does Iowa Code section 144.24A allow?
  • The new law allows an adult adoptee to request and receive a noncertified copy of their original certificate of birth that was created prior to their adoption. Biological parent information is listed on this document. 
  • The new law allows biological parents to file contact preference and medical history forms with the Bureau of Health Statistics. These forms shall be released to the adult adoptee or entitled person upon proper application.
Who else can request a noncertified copy of the original certificate of birth for an adoptee?
  • An entitled person may request and receive a noncertified copy of the original certificate of birth prior to adoption if the adoptee is deceased.
Who is an entitled person? 
  • An entitled person is the spouse of the adopted person who is deceased, or an adult related to the adopted person who is deceased within the second degree of consanguinity. The second degree of consanguinity is applied to individuals after adoption.
Who is within the second degree of consanguinity?
  • The following individuals are within the second degree of consanguinity of the adult adoptee: children, parents, grandchildren, siblings and grandparents.
Can an original noncertified copy of a birth certificate prior to adoption be released if no contact preference form has been filed?
  • Yes. For persons born before January 1, 1971, a request for a noncertified copy of the original certificate of birth may be submitted at any time.  For persons born after January 1, 1971, a request for a noncertified copy of the original certificate of birth may be requested on or after January 1, 2022.
If I am a biological parent listed on an original certificate of birth prior to adoption, when can I filed a contact preference form and medical history form?
  • The Bureau will accept contact preference forms and medical history forms immediately.  If the contact preference form and medical history form is submitted to the Bureau of Health Statistics after the release dates noted above, adult adoptees or entitled persons may have requested the original certificate of birth prior to adoption. Contact preference forms and medical history forms are provided with the noncertified original certificate of birth once filed.

 

Applications for a noncertified copy of the original certificate of birth prior to adoption, contact preference and medical history forms will only be accepted via mail or in-person at the Bureau of Health Statistics. These forms will not be filed at any other issuing office.

 

Mail contact preference and medical history forms to:

Iowa Department of Public Health
Bureau of Health Statistics
Lucas State Office Building
1st Floor, 321 E. 12th Street
Des Moines, Iowa   50319-0075