Begin Main Content Area

Information for New Parents

Congratulations on the birth of your child!

To congratulate you on the birth of your child, the Pennsylvania Department of Health is pleased to present you with your child's birth certificate. This is your child's first official identification, so please keep it in a safe location. Your child will use this birth certificate for future milestones, like registering for school, applying for a driver's license, getting a passport and verifying their U.S. citizenship for their first job.

If you need additional copies of your child's birth certificate, please visit Ordering a Birth Certificate page.

Please review your child's birth certificate to make sure everything is accurate and spelled correctly.  If your child's birth certificate contains an error, it is easiest to correct the error prior to your child's first birthday.  The following information provides direction on how to correct errors on your child's birth certificate.

Correcting Typographical Errors and Adding Missing Information

The information listed on your child's birth certificate is based on the Report of Live Birth submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. If you delivered your baby in a licensed Pennsylvania birth facility, you likely were provided with a birth mother's worksheet which is used to collect information to be included on the Report of Live Birth.  The birthing facility then entered information from the birth mother's worksheet into an electronic Report of Live Birth which is submitted directly to us. While most Reports of Live Birth are submitted with 100% accuracy, sometimes typographical errors do occur.

To correct this type of error, complete the Birth Record Correction Form (located on the back of the birth certificate).   If you do not have your child's birth certificate, you may download a Birth Correction Form from our website. Do not use this form to add a parent to a child's birth record.

In the left column of the form, enter at least the child's name and date of birth as currently listed on the birth certificate.  This information is used to identify the birth record that needs updated.  In the right column, only enter the information that needs corrected on the child's record. 

If you are correcting information on the child's parent (such a name, age or birthplace), you must also provide documentary evidence to support the change.  Acceptable documentary evidence includes government-issued documents, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, passports, and driver's licenses.  Social security cards are not accepted.

Based on national standards, all parent's names as printed on a birth certificate list the parent's legal name prior to first marriage (also referred to as a maiden last name). 

All parents listed on the birth certificate must sign the Birth Correction Form.  The form also needs notarized if one of the following applies:

  • You are changing the last name of your child.
  • You are changing a parent's last name.
  • Your child is 1 year old or older.

Adding a Parent to a Birth Record

If your child's birth certificate only lists one parent, you may add a second parent to your child's birth record as follows:

Married Couples
If you were married at the time of your child's birth, then the birth mother's spouse is the child's legal parent unless a specialized registration process has been used to list a biological father on your child's birth record.

  • If your spouse is the child's father, then complete an Application to Add a Father to a Birth Record. This form may also be used for couples who marry after the birth of the child where the spouse of the birth mother is also the biological father of the child.
  • If you are married and had a child with someone other than your husband, contact our office at 724-656-3100 for further assistance. As required under legislation, we must notify your husband of this child's birth prior to adding the biological father to your child's birth record.
  • If you are a same-sex couple, your spouse should be listed on the child's birth record if you included your spouse's information on the mother's worksheet that you completed at the birth facility. 
    • If you listed your spouse on the mother's worksheet but your spouse is not listed on the birth certificate, please complete a Birth Correction Form and include a note that the birth certificates does not match the mother's worksheet.  We will work directly with the licensed birth facility to correct your child's birth record.
    • If you did not list your spouse on the mother's worksheet, then you can add your spouse as follows:
      • By completing a Birth Correction Form along with a certified copy of a directive court order requiring us to amend your child's birth record.  The certified copy of the court order must include a raised seal of the court.
      • By providing us with a Certificate of Adoption. 

Unmarried Couple

  • If you are an unmarried couple and both the birth mother and the biological father agree to be listed on the child's birth record, please complete an Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP) form which must be filed with the Department of Human Services (DHS). If you completed the AOP at time of your child's birth but the birth certificate does not list the father, please follow up with DHS at 800-932-0211. Once you have verified that DHS has processed your AOP, complete an Application to Add a Father to a Birth Record.  Please note that the AOP must first be processed by DHS before we can add the father to your child's birth record.
  • If you are the biological parent of a child and unable to file an AOP, we can list you as the parent of your child once we receive an appropriate court order that demonstrates your parentage.  While we receive most of these court orders directly from the courts, you may also submit an Application to Add a Father to a Birth Record and provide us with a certified copy of the court order (which must include the raised seal of the court).

Removing a Parent from a Birth Record

To remove a parent from a birth record, we must receive a court order that provides appropriate detail on why the parent's name is being removed.  At no time will we add a third parent to a child's birth record.  Therefore, if the courts have determined that someone other than the individual(s) listed on a birth certificate is a parent of the child, then the court must issue a court order to first remove the individual who is not the parent of the child.  

If you have a certified copy of a court order to remove a parent from your child's birth record, you may submit a Birth Correction Form along with the certified copy of the court order (which must include the raised seal of the court).

Amending a Birth Record Due to Adoption

Please see the Adoption Information on My Records page for more information.

Processing Time

Please allow approximately four to six weeks for processing of your child's Birth Correction Form or Application to Add a Father to a Birth Record.

Applying for a Corrected Birth Certificate

Receiving a Free Birth Certificate

To receive a corrected birth certificate free of charge, please return your child's original birth certificate along with your request before your child is six months old.

Applying for a Birth Certificate

If you submitted an Application to Add a Father to a Birth Record and you indicated on the form that you want an updated birth certificate, you do not need to do anything further.

If you submitted a Birth Correction Form, please do not order a new birth certificate until we notify you that your child's birth record has been corrected.  Once you receive this notification from us, you may apply for a new birth certificate.  See ordering a birth certificate for details on how to apply.