This certificate will be linked to the original one which will be held in a confidential index, accessible by the child in question once they’ve reached the age of 18.

The woman who has the baby, including a surrogate mother, is recorded as the child's mother.

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In Scotland, if you cannot think of a name for your baby within 21 days, it can be recorded subsequently, if the parents apply for a change of name for the child. Northern Ireland allows parents to change the name of their child up until the child is two years old.

There may be slight variations within England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland; but as a general rule you should take the following information with you when you visit the registrar's office: If you don't have any of these, the registrar can still register that your child has been born.

You won't be able to register your child with a doctor without this registration card.

When you register your baby, the registrar will either give you an application form to apply for a full birth certificate or you can get one there and then.

If you do not get one at the time you register the birth, you will need to complete the application form and send it off with a cheque to cover the cost of the certificate.

You should receive the full birth certificate within two weeks.

If your baby was born in hospital, this may have been done before you left.

Otherwise, it will require a personal visit to the registrar’s office.

A birth that takes place in England can only be registered in English, but children born in Wales may be registered bilingually in English and Welsh.

It is expected that either or both of the parents will register their child’s birth.

In Scotland, it is a legal requirement to register a birth within 21 days.