Utah denies the right of adult adoptees to request and obtain their own original birth certificates. The OBC can only be released by court order or upon the consent or death of the listed birthparents.
Utah maintains a Mutual Consent Voluntary Adoption Registry, which adoptees and birth parents may use to facilitate disclosure of identifying information. Using the registry is required in order to request an original birth certificate.
Utah’s New Law
Effective November 1, 2021
Utah’s new law applies to all adoptees born in the state and requires either consent or death of a birthparent in order to release an original birth certificate. A FAQ about what the law does—and does not do at all—is here. The text of the law has been incorporated into the excerpts below.
Relevant Utah Law: Original Birth Certificates
26-2-10. Supplementary certificate of birth.
(1) Any person born in this state who is legitimized by the subsequent marriage of the person’s natural parents, or whose parentage has been determined by any U.S. state court or Canadian provincial court having jurisdiction, or who has been legally adopted under the law of this or any other state or any province of Canada, may request the state registrar to register a supplementary birth certificate on the basis of that status.
(2) The application for registration of a supplementary birth certificate may be made by the person requesting registration, if the person is of legal age, by a legal representative, or by any agency authorized to receive children for placement or adoption under the laws of this or any other state.
(3) (a) The state registrar shall require that an applicant submit identification and proof according to department rules.
(b) In the case of an adopted person, that proof may be established by order of the court in which the adoption proceedings were held.
(4)(a) After the supplementary birth certificate is registered, any information disclosed from the record shall be from the supplementary birth certificate.
(b) Access to the original birth certificate and to the evidence submitted in support of the supplementary birth certificate are not open to inspection except upon the order of a Utah district court or as provided under Section 78B-6-141 or Section 78B-6-144.
Relevant Utah Law: “Adoption Documents”
78B-6-103. Definitions (Relevant Portions)
As used in this part:
(1) “Adoptee” means a person who:
(a) is the subject of an adoption proceeding; or
(b) has been legally adopted.
(2) “Adoption” means the judicial act that:
(a) creates the relationship of parent and child where it did not previously exist; and
(b) except as provided in Subsections 78B-6-138(2) and (4), terminates the parental rights of any other person with respect to the child.
(3) “Adoption document” means an adoption-related document filed with the office, a petition for adoption, a decree of adoption, an original birth certificate, or evidence submitted in support of a supplementary birth certificate.
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(6) “Adult” means an individual who is 18 years of age or older.
(7) “Adult adoptee” means an adoptee who is 18 years of age or older and was adopted as a minor.
(8) “Adult sibling” means an adoptee’s brother or sister, who is 18 years of age or older and whose birth mother or father is the same as that of the adoptee.
(9) “Birth mother” means the biological mother of a child.
(10) “Birth parent” means:
(a) a birth mother;
(b) a man whose paternity of a child is established;
(c) a man who:
(i) has been identified as the father of a child by the child’s birth mother; and
(ii) has not denied paternity; or
(d) an unmarried biological father.
78B-6-141. Court hearings may be closed — Petition and documents sealed — Exceptions..
(1) (a) Notwithstanding Section 78A-6-114, court hearings in adoption cases may be closed to the public upon request of a party to the adoption petition and upon court approval.
(b) In a closed hearing, only the following individuals may be admitted:
(i) a party to the proceeding;
(ii) the adoptee;
(iii) a representative of an agency having custody of the adoptee;
(iv) in a hearing to relinquish parental rights, the individual whose rights are to be relinquished and invitees of that individual to provide emotional support;
(v) in a hearing on the termination of parental rights, the individual whose rights may be terminated;
(vi) in a hearing on a petition to intervene, the proposed intervenor;
(vii) in a hearing to finalize an adoption, invitees of the petitioner; and
(viii) other individuals for good cause, upon order of the court.
(2) An adoption document and any other documents filed in connection with a petition for adoption are sealed.
(3) The documents described in Subsection (2) may only be open to inspection and copying:
(a) in accordance with Subsection (5)(a), by a party to the adoption proceeding:
(i) while the proceeding is pending; or
(ii) within six months after the day on which the adoption decree is entered;
(b) subject to Subsection (5)(b), if a court enters an order permitting access to the documents by a person who has appealed the denial of that person’s motion to intervene;
(c) upon order of the court expressly permitting inspection or copying, after good cause has been shown;
(d) as provided under Section 78B-6-144 [Utah’s Mutual-Consent Voluntary Adoption Registry ];
(e) when the adoption document becomes public on the one hundredth anniversary of the date the final decree of adoption was entered;
(f) when the birth certificate becomes public on the one hundredth anniversary of the date of birth;
(g) to a mature adoptee or a parent who adopted the mature adoptee, without a court order, unless the final decree of adoption is entered by the juvenile court under Subsection 78B-6-115(3)(b); or
(h) to an adult adoptee, to the extent permitted under Subsection (4).
(4)(a) An adult adoptee that was born in the state may access an adoption document associated with the adult adoptee’s adoption without a court order:
(i) to the extent that a birth parent consents under Subsection (4)(b); or
(ii) if the birth parents listed on the original birth certificate are deceased.
(b) A birth parent may:
(i) provide consent to allow the access described in Subsection (4)(a) by electing, electronically or on a written form provided by the office, allowing the birth parent to elect to:
(A) allow the office to provide the adult adoptee with the contact information of the birth parent that the birth parent indicates;
(B) allow the office to provide the adult adoptee with the contact information of an intermediary that the birth parent indicates;
(C) prohibit the office from providing any contact information to the adult adoptee;
(D) allow the office to provide the adult adoptee with a noncertified copy of the original birth certificate; and
(ii) at any time, file, electronically or on a written document with the office, to:
(A) change the election described in Subsection (4)(b); or
(B) elect to make other information about the birth parent, including an updated medical history, available for inspection by an adult adoptee.
(c) A birth parent may not access any identifying information or an adoption document under this Subsection (4).
(d) If two birth parents are listed on the original birth certificate and only one birty parent consents under Subsection (4)(b) or is deceased, the office may redact the name of the other birth parent.
(5)(a) A person who files a motion to intervene in an adoption proceeding:
(i) is not a party to the adoption proceeding, unless the motion to intervene is granted; and
(ii) may not be granted access to the documents described in Subsection (1), unless the motion to intervene is granted.
(b) An order described in Subsection (2)(b) shall:
(i) prohibit the person described in Subsection (2)(b) from inspecting a document described in Subsection (1) that contains identifying information of the adoptive or prospective adoptive parent; and
(ii) permit the person described in Subsection (4)(b)(i) to review a copy of a document described in Subsection (4)(b)(i) after the identifying information described in Subsection (4)(b)(i) is redacted from the document.