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If the parents were married or in a civil partnership to each other at the time of the birth either parent can attend alone to register the birth. 

If the parents were not married or in a civil partnership to each other the simplest way is for both parents to attend to register together.

If this is not possible there are three other ways, the father or second female parent details can be recorded on the birth certificate:

1. The parent who will not be attending to register fills in a form before a justice of the peace, solicitor or notary public who will then sign and date the form. The other parent then attends to register alone and brings the completed form with them. There is likely to be a charge for this by the solicitor (etc). Copies of the form (statutory declaration of parentage) are available at all register offices.

2. In some cases a court order will be made naming the father or second female parent. In this case the mother can register the birth alone and the absent parent’s details recorded but please contact the register office first.

3. If neither parent is able to attend, registration can be undertaken by someone from the list below in special cases but you will need to contact the register office first:

  • the occupier of the house or hospital where the child was born
  • someone who was present at the birth
  • someone who is responsible for the child

Who can register a birth - GOV.UK website

What last name can the child be given?

The mother of the child can give the child any first and last name she chooses.

She may give the child the father’s surname if she wants and she does not need the father’s permission to do this.

A man registered on the birth certificate as the father of the child has no right to insist that the child is given a particular name, for example, his last name.

A married couple can also choose any surname for their child.

It does not have to be the name of either of the parents.

Once a last name has been recorded it can only be changed if:

  • the parents apply to re-register the baby because they were not married when the baby’s birth was first registered and the father’s details were not recorded, or
  • the parents marry each other after the child was born. The birth must be re-registered in this case even if the baby was given the father’s surname when the baby’s birth was first registered.

What information will the register office need?

About the baby

  • The date of the baby’s birth (if the baby is one of twins the time of the birth is also needed)
  • The place of the baby’s birth
  • The sex of the child
  • The forename(s) and last name

About the father/second female parent

  • Their forename and last name
  • Their date and place of birth
  • Their occupation or if not employed at that time, the last occupation

About the mother

  • Her forename and last name
  • Maiden surname if the mother is, or has been, married
  • Her date and place of birth
  • Her occupation or if not employed at that time, the last occupation

Other details

  • The date of the marriage/civil partnership, if the parents of the baby were married to each other at the time of the birth
  • The number of children the mother has had previously


  • Please arrive in time for your appointment, if you are late you will be asked to make a new appointment
  • If you are a married/in a civil partnership to each other, only one parent needs to attend the appointment
  • If you are not married in a civil partnership, you will both need to attend the appointment.

Please see what information will the register office need for the documents to bring with you.

Book an appointment

Birth certificates

Once you have made an appointment to register, you will be asked to apply for your baby’s birth certificate, cost £11.00 each.

Please note If you don’t do this you will not receive your baby’s birth certificate at your appointment as we are currently unable to take payments for certificates in person.

The registrar will  provide this at your appointment.

What documents will the register office issue

A full birth certificate that shows parents details are also available to buy.

There is a reduced cost if you purchase at the time you register the birth.

Requesting certificates

If you have already registered your baby and only require a certificate, please go to Request a certificate as you do not need to make an appointment for this.