Birth Certificates

A Parent’s Guide to Hospital Birth Registration in Massachusetts

Your baby’s birth certificate is a legal document that proves the facts of birth and makes a birth a permanent record in Massachusetts’ vital records. Birth certificates should be completed before mother and baby are discharged home. The hospital is required to a record births at Town Hall within ten days.

Hospitals obtain birth certificate information by means of a worksheet or interview, and it is very important that you answer every question completely. Information needed to record the birth in Massachusetts include: name of the baby and birth places, social security numbers and home address of the parents.

You will need to make the birth registrar aware if you are: married or were married anytime within 300 days before delivery, married but your husband is not the father, divorced and date of divorce. Your current status is important to process your baby’s birth certificate. The birth registrar needs to complete the appropriate documents required by the state.

You will also be asked statistical questions like race, education, etc. This information helps doctors and public health planners find out facts about health and characteristics of mothers and babies. Statistical information is kept strictly confidential and sent directly to the Department of Public Health (DPH), separate from the legal record that is sent to the town clerk.

At the hospital, during the birth certificate process, you will have the option of applying for a social security card for your child. If you apply, you will receive the social security card in the mail within six weeks.

The birth certificate is completed by the birth registrar, signed by mother/parents and sent to the Town Hall to be recorded. It is the parent’s responsibility to pick up a certified copy after ten days or whenever needed. There is a fee for the birth certificate.

Paternity Acknowledgment Program: In Massachusetts, unmarried parents can legally acknowledge paternity at the hospital delivery. A special form, acknowledgment of Parentage at Birth, allows the birth registrar to list the father on your baby’s birth certificate at the time the baby is born. The mother must be unmarried. Both parents must sign the acknowledgment and provide identification for the birth registrar/notary.

Denial of Paternity: Massachusetts Law requires that mothers who are married at any time within 300 days of birth, will have the husband listed as the father unless a denial of paternity form is completed and signed by the husband and the mother.

For more information about Acknowledgment of Parentage or Denial of Paternity affidavits:

For more information about Birth Registration questions:

  • Call: Registry of Vital Records at 617-740-2600