2. Who can register a birth

Married parents

The mother or father can register the birth on their own and include both parents’ details if they were married when the baby was born or conceived.

Unmarried parents

The details of both parents can be included on the birth certificate if they do one of the following:

  • sign the birth register together
  • one parent completes a statutory declaration of parentage form and the other takes the signed form to register the birth
  • one parent goes to register the birth with a document from the court (for example, a court order) giving the father parental responsibility

The mother can choose to register the birth on her own if she isn’t married to the child’s father. The father’s details won’t be included on the birth certificate.

It might be possible to add the father’s details at a later date by completing an application for the re-registration of a child’s birth.

Same-sex couples

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

Female couples can include both their names on their child’s birth certificate when registering the birth - the rules are different depending on whether or not they’re in a civil partnership.

Female civil partners

Either woman can register the birth on her own if all of the following are true:

  • the mother has a child by donor insemination or fertility treatment
  • she was in a civil partnership at the time of the treatment
  • her civil partner is the child’s legal parent

Female non-civil partners

When a mother isn’t in a civil partnership, her partner can be seen as the child’s second parent if both women:

  • are treated together in the UK by a licensed clinic
  • have made a ‘parenthood agreement’

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

  • register the birth jointly
  • complete a ‘Statutory declaration of acknowledgement of parentage’ form and one parent takes the signed form when she registers the birth
  • get a document from the court (for example, a court order) giving the second female parent parental responsibility and one parent shows the document when she registers the birth

Other people who can register a birth

If the parents can’t register the birth (eg for medical reasons), certain other people can do it:

  • someone who was present at the birth
  • someone who is responsible for the child
  • a member of the administrative staff at the hospital where the child was born

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