How do I change a father’s name on a birth certificate?

Recording a birth

All births in England, Wales and Northern Ireland must be registered within 42 days of the baby being born. This should be done at the local register office in the area where the baby was born or sometimes can be done at the hospital before the mother leaves.

If the parents are married, either parent can register the birth on their own, and provide both parents’ details to be added to the birth certificate. In the case of unmarried parents, the details of both parents can be included on the birth certificate if they sign the birth register together; or if one parent completes a statutory declaration of parentage form and the other takes the signed form to register the birth. Alternatively, If the father has not signed a statutory declaration of parentage he must prove that he is the biological father of the child. A parent could then register the birth with the court order proving the father has parental responsibility.

Paternity DNA testing can be used to prove who the biological father is. However, as this is for legal reasons a Peace of Mind DNA testing kit will not suffice. With our Legal DNA testing services, we prioritise confidentiality and maintain the chain of custody throughout the entire process to ensure that the results are court approved. We can also provide DNA results the next day, or even the same day if required. A list of court-approved DNA testing laboratories can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/get-dna-test

Changing a birth certificate

It is quite rare for a birth certificate to be changed. This is because it is a historical record that was correct when the birth was registered. If you want to be legally known by a name that is different to your birth name, you can apply for a Deed Poll (http://www.deedpoll.org.uk/WhatIsADeedPoll.html). Your Deed Poll document can then be used to get all of your official documents and records changed to your new name. The new name shown on your Deed Poll overrides the name on your birth certificate. However, if you are subsequently asked to prove your identity, such as when applying for a passport or bank account, you still need to produce your birth certificate along with your Deed Poll document.

There are a few circumstances that enable you to get a name entry in the birth register amended.

Changing the father’s name on a birth certificate

You can only apply to change who the father is on a birth certificate if a DNA test proves (or a court order says) that the man named on the certificate isn’t the natural father.

If you are able to produce your legal DNA paternity test results to the General Register Office (GRO) (https://www.gov.uk/browse/births-deaths-marriages/register-offices proving that the person recorded on the child’s birth certificate is not the biological father, you can apply to have his details amended. However, please note that if a subsequent birth certificate is issued, it will still show the incorrect details but there will be a note indicating that the named father’s details had been entered in error.

Adding the biological father’s name on a birth certificate

In the case of recording the biological father on a birth certificate, an application needs to be made to the GRO to re-register the birth. As long as both parents agree, the child’s surname can usually be changed upon re-registration, although some restrictions may apply. A child aged 16 years old, or over, will also need to agree to the change. However, please note that a birth cannot be re-registered just to change a child’s surname.

Can home DNA testing kits be used to change a birth certificate?

Peace of Mind paternity testing cannot be used to change a birth certificate. These tests involve collecting DNA samples at home or anywhere else convenient and returning them to our laboratory for analysis. The test results are just as accurate as our legal testing. However, strict chain of custody conditions must be maintained to ensure that the individual undergoing the DNA testing is indeed who he or she say they are. As such, a trained sample collector or medical professional will need to collect the samples. Alternatively, samples can be collected at one of our nationwide Walk in Centres.

However, a Peace of Mind paternity test may be useful to confirm the outcome of the test prior to seeking legal advice or instructing legal DNA testing.

If you require advice on what kind of DNA testing will be suitable for your purposes, please contact our friendly Customer Services team on 0333 600 1300 or info@alphabiolabs.co.uk

Useful links

Accredited DNA testing laboratories https://www.gov.uk/get-dna-test

General Register Office https://www.gov.uk/browse/births-deaths-marriages/register-offices

UK Deed Poll Service http://www.deedpoll.org.uk/WhatIsADeedPoll.html