ARTICLE by Sophie Peterson

What You Need to Know About Birth Certificates Before Giving Birth

 |  Reading time: 4 minutes
B_for_Blog | Natural Baby Shower

If you’re an expecting parent, there’s lots to think about like pushchairs, car seats, nursery's, clothes and the actual labour, so you may not have yet thought about your little one’s birth certificate – and we don’t blame you.

There are some costs and rules around registering your baby’s birth and ordering their birth certificate that you may not yet be aware of. In this blog, we’ll answer some of your most asked questions around birth certificates, from how much they cost, to how long you have to register a birth.

How much does a birth certificate cost?

A UK birth certificate costs £12.50 and is sent four days after you apply for one. If you do not have a GRO index reference number, you will need to pay an extra £3.50 for each search.

If you need your birth certificate to arrive sooner, you can use the priority service which costs £38.50, and will be sent the next working day if you order by 4pm.

Any extra copies cost the same.

You can find out more about this on the website.

What are the different types of birth certificate?

There are two different types of birth certificate. There is the short version which contains just the details of the baby, or the full version which also contains the parents’ details.

Once you’ve registered the birth of your little one, you can then buy either the short or full birth certificate for the same price.

Who can register a birth?

Male + Female Couples

If the parents are married or in a civil partnership, either parent can register the birth on their own and include both parents’ details if they were married or in a civil partnership when the baby was born or conceived.

If the parents are unmarried, both of their details can be included on the birth certificate if they sign the birth register together, if one parent completes a statutory declaration of parentage form and the other takes the signed form to register the birth, or if one parent goes to register the birth with a court document like a court order of parental responsibility.

The mother can also choose to register the birth without the father if they are not together, but it is sometimes possible to add the father’s details at a later date.

Female + Female Couples

Same sex female couples can include both of their names on their child’s birth certificate when registering the birth.

If the are married or in a civil partnership, either parent can register the birth if the mother has a child by donor insemination or fertility treatment.

If they are unmarried and non-civil-partner parents, the mother’s partner can be seen as a second parent if both women are treated together at a UK licensed clinic or if they have made a parenthood agreement.

For both parents’ details to be recorded on the birth certificate they must do one of the following:

  • Register the birth together
  • Complete a statutory acknowledgement of parentage form and one parent takes the signed form when registering the birth
  • Get a document from the court giving the second female parental responsibility

Male + Male Couples

Same sex male couples must get a parental order from the court before they can be registered as parents.

You can read more about who can register a birth on the website.

How do you get a birth certificate?

To order a birth certificate, you will need to register your baby’s birth at the local register office for the area where your child was born, or at the hospital before you leave. The hospital should provide information about registering your baby’s birth and how to order a birth certificate.

When registering the birth of your baby, you will need to know:

  • The place and date of the birth
  • The sex, name and surname of the baby
  • The names, surnames and addresses of the parents
  • Places and dates of the parents’ births
  • Dates of parents’ marriage or civil partnership
  • Information about the parents’ jobs
  • Mother’s maiden name

When you go to register the birth, you will need to bring:

  • Passport
  • Your birth certificate
  • Deed poll
  • Driving license
  • Proof of address
  • Council tax bill
  • Marriage or civil partnership certificate

How long do you have to register a birth?

All births in England, Wales and Northern Ireland must be registered within 42 days of the birth.

If you fail to register your child’s birth within the 42-day timeframe, you will be contacted and asked to register your newborn. It is important to register your baby’s birth during this timeframe to obtain a birth certificate.

How to get a replacement birth certificate?

If you need to apply for a replacement birth certificate, you can do so using the website. To order a new certificate will cost the standard £12.50 unless you need it urgently, in which case you can use the priority service and pay £38.50.

We hope this information has helped you feel more prepared for your little one’s arrival.

If you are still shopping and nesting ready for your newborn, explore our Newborn Essentials page and discover everything you need for your new arrival. Everything in this collection has been carefully selected by our team to provide everything a new parent needs to give their baby the best start possible.

Explore Newborn Essentials.