The recording of a birth by a Registrar General of Births and Deaths under the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953. Where parents are married, both parents are under a statutory obligation to register the birth within 42 days of its occurrence. Where the child is born to an unmarried mother, only the mother is under this obligation. Registration of the unmarried father's name will normally require the co-operation and joint attendance by both parents. Independent registration of the father is only allowed on the production of proof of parentage, or a court order such as a parental responsibility order. The government has recently proposed legislation that would require unmarried parents to jointly register the births of their children. This will mean that unmarried fathers will be required to be recorded in the birth register unless it would be impossible, impracticable, or unreasonable to do so.
A birth certificate may be obtained from the Registrar, the Superintendent Registrar, or the General Register Office; a short form of the certificate, relating to the child's name, sex, and date of birth but not parentage, may also be obtained (see illegitimacy). Children may consult the birth register to discover who their registered parents are and adopted children over the age of 18 have a right to see their original birth certificate. See also Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority.